Lesbian couples sue to marry in New Mexico

Two lesbian couples seeking the freedom to marry filed a lawsuit this week after they applied for and were denied marriage licenses by the Bernalillo County, N.M., clerk.

The couples are Miriam Rand, 63, and Ona Porter, 66; and Rose Griego, 47, and Kim Kiel, 44. Rand and Porter currently live in Albuquerque while Griego and Kiel reside in Santa Fe. They are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of New Mexico, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and an Albuquerque law firm.

“Ona and I have been together for over 25 years,” Rand said in a news release. “Together, we raised children, we took care of our mothers when they were dying and are currently raising our granddaughter. We are family. We love and care for one another through good times and bad. We want our community to recognize our love and commitment for what it is – a marriage.”

The couples and their attorneys claim that the New Mexico marriage statutes and the New Mexico Constitution do not bar same-sex couples from marrying, and therefore the state should issue civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

New Mexico is the only state in the country that does not either explicitly recognize same-sex relationships through marriage or civil unions or ban recognition of same-sex relationships by statute or constitutional amendment.

“The time has come for New Mexico to treat same-sex couples with the same dignity and respect we afford opposite-sex couples,” said Laura Schauer Ives, legal director of the ACLU of New Mexico.

Shannon Minter of NCLR stated, “New Mexico has a long history of respecting individual freedom and supporting familie. These couples want the same opportunity to marry and to take responsibility for one another as other couples.”

The lawsuit was filed in Albuquerque’s district court.

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