I have lived in New Mexico my entire life, and experienced many different things that made me love the state—green chile, hot air balloons, and low humidity, to name a few.
This week however I have a brand new reason to love New Mexico—the equality that now exists in the state. The state Supreme Court ruled on Thursday to allow same-sex marriages statewide. New Mexico now joins 16 other states and the District of Columbia in treating all citizens equal, regardless of their sexual orientation.
The question at hand in this case was whether or not the state government can refuse to recognize same-sex marriages and therefore deny those citizens the rights, protections and responsibilities given to opposite-gender married couples.
The Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled that denying same-sex couples the right to civil marriage would violate the Equal Protection Clause, and therefore violate the New Mexico Constitution.
For some people, this decision seems obvious. Why should people be denied equal rights just because they are gay?
It was not that long ago, however, that people were denied the right to marriage because of the color of their skin. Thankfully in Loving v. Virgina, that law was overturned and interracial marriages were legal in 1967.
In that case the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that skin color should not determine the rights given to citizens. And now the New Mexico Supreme Court has decided the same is true for homosexuals.
The court’s opinion stated:
“Same-gender couples who wish to enter into a civil marriage with another person of their choice and to the exclusion of all others are similarly situated to opposite-gender couples who want to do the same, yet they are treated differently…Accordingly, New Mexico may neither constitutionally deny same-gender couples the right to marry nor deprive them of the rights, protections, and responsibilities of marriage laws, unless the proponents of the legislation—the opponents of same-gender marriage—prove that the discrimination caused by the legislation is “substantially related to an important government interest.””
Growing up in New Mexico, I dreamed about getting married in this state with all of my family and childhood friends present because I made strong connections with the people and places here.
There came a time in my life, however, when I realized that I would not be marrying a girl, but I would instead be marrying another boy.
Then later I realized that I would not be getting married in this state at all, because I was gay.
I have been to many weddings in New Mexico, and I have seen many close friends make a commitment to each other to spend their lives dedicated to one another.
There is nothing I want more than a chance to proudly show the love of my life to my friends and family, and to make a commitment to that person in the state that made me who I am.
Many people did not think this would happen, but now I have the right to marry a person that I love in New Mexico, even though I am gay.
This decision has granted protection, equality and happiness to thousands of homosexuals in New Mexico, and I am so proud to say that I come from a state that believes everyone is equal before the law, regardless of their sexual orientation.