ALBUQUERQUE, December 19, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Supreme Court of New Mexico ruled that the state must recognize same-sex “marriages,” because a ban would violate a 1972 constitutional amendment banning discrimination “on account of the sex of any person.”
Justice Edward L. Chavez wrote that, due to homosexuals' special status as a minority community, “New Mexico may [not] constitutionally deny same-gender couples the right to marry…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.'”
Chavez authored the 31-page decision expressing the unanimous ruling of the five-member court.
Justices rejected the notion that the government had a vested interest in the conception and raising of children. “Procreation has never been a condition of marriage under New Mexico law, as evidenced by the fact that the aged, the infertile, and those who choose not to have children are not precluded from marrying,” Chavez wrote. He cited the fact that “New Mexico law recognizes the right of same-gender couples to raise children” to further erode the notion that the state truly opposes children being raised by homosexuals.
“We hold that the State of New Mexico is constitutionally required to allow same-gender couples to marry,” the court ruled.
The ACLU, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and a coalition of local attorneys who brought the suit beamed at the decision. ACLU-New Mexico Legal Director Laura Schauer Ives said the ruling marked an “historic and joyful day for New Mexico.”
Groups such as National Organization for Women Foundation, the state NOW chapter, PFLAG, the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico, and the Anti-Defamation League filed amicus briefs supporting gay “marriage.”
Opponents said the ruling was illogical and harmful.
“The unfortunate affects this will have on society are sweeping. The court chose to issue a mandate and tear down an important pillar of our society – the traditional family,” the New Mexico-based Voices for Family Values said. “This opens new opportunities for the traditional family to be undermined and our society's threads to be ravaged.”
Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins said the decision “turned logic on its head by redefining what marriage has always been throughout human history.”
“This is a court that has elevated ideological conformity above everything else,” Perkins said, citing the court's ruling that Elane Photography must shoot a gay “wedding” ceremony despite the family's Christian faith.
“Rather than live-and-let-live, this is a court that is forcing people to violate the basic teachings of their faith, or lose their jobs,” Perkins said.
National Organization for Marriage (NOM) President Brian Brown said that the state's “activist judges” were part of a concerted nationwide “rush towards silencing people of faith.” Tea Party leader Judson Phillips agreed that same-sex “marriage” helped suppress the liberty of all Americans.
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New Mexico had been in a unique situation, the only state in the union with no legislation either legalizing or forbidding gay “marriage.” Former state attorneys general said the law constituted a de facto prohibition on the practice. Democratic State Attorney General Gary King said, in his view, the ban violated the constitution.
In time, clerks in eight counties began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, some voluntarily and some following local court orders.
Voices for Family Values is circulating a petition, which it plans to deliver to state legislators when it reconvenes in January, asking them to support traditional marriage. Lawmakers had repeatedly rejected bills to clarify the state's marriage laws in the past.
Brian Brown went further. “The National Organization for Marriage will do everything in its power to protect believers of true marriage in New Mexico and around the nation from the fallout of radical judges who deny the truth of marriage,” he said.
Brown urged Congress to pass a Marriage Protection Amendment to the U.S. Constitution offered by Congressman Tim Huelskamp, R-KS.
Of the 17 states that recognize same-sex “marriage,” eight of them came by court order. In only three states – Maine, Washington, and Maryland – has same-sex “marriage” been ratified by voters in a popular referendum.
Voices for Family Values said, “Though this battle did not end in our favor, the war is far from over.”