New Mexico became the 17th state to allow same-sex couples to marry last week following a state Supreme Court decision.
While it was quickly overshadowed by a federal judge ruling a ban on same-sex marriages in Utah to be unconstitutional, it still made some waves for legal observers throughout the country.
One part is the court shooting down the argument for “responsible procreation” being a reason to bar same-sex marriage.
Wrong, says Justice Edward L. Chávez, speaking for the court—in fact, New Mexico’s own marriage law makes no mention whatsoever of procreation, exposing the argument’s gesture toward tradition as the claptrap that it is. Instead, “the purpose of New Mexico marriage laws is to bring stability and order to the legal relationship of committed couples … [and] their children.” Plus, “fertility has never been a condition of marriage,” so heterosexual gay marriage opponents clearly aren’t even playing by their own rules. Finally, Chávez drives in the knife:
[W]e fail to see how forbidding same-gender marriages will result in the marriages of more opposite-gender couples for the purpose of procreating, or how authorizing same-gender marriages will result in the marriages of fewer opposite-gender couples for the purpose of procreating.
SCOTUSblog also took some time out of observing the goings on of the federal Supreme Court to look at the ruling.
SCOTUSblog outlined the arguments that were made against same-sex marriage.
The justifications were the now-familiar ones that opponents of same-sex marriage have been offering in many court cases — that confining marriage to unions of a man and a woman promotes the state’s interest in “responsible procreation,” that it also promotes “responsible child-rearing,” and that it protects the institution of marriage from dissolution by discrediting it as a life-long commitment. The state, the state supreme court found, had never sought to justify the existing marital laws with any of those arguments.
In addition, the state court said that same-sex couples have demonstrated that they are capable of having families with children, that they are responsible parents, and that their unions will not affect anyone else’s marriage.
Unlike the Utah ruling, which the state is planning on appealing to the Supreme Court of the United States, there is no other court for opponents of same-sex marriage to go to.
Instead, the only other option is a constitutional amendment that defines marriage in New Mexico as between one man and one woman. However, with a legislature that has Democratic majorities in each chamber and a public that is increasingly accepting of same-sex marriage, it is unlikely such an effort will go anywhere.