Two lesbian couples on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the Clerk of Bernalillo County in New Mexico for refusing to provide them with marriage licenses.
Both same-sex couples had been denied marriage licenses, even though the state does not explicitly prohibit same-sex marriages. In their lawsuit, they claim being excluded from state-sanctioned marriage was both harmful and a violation of the state’s constitution, which guarantees due process and equal protection of the laws
“This public rejection of the Plaintiffs’ most significant relationship damages them and their children, and promotes the view that their relationships and families are inferior to those of other committed couples,” the lawsuit states, adding that the couples are also denied a number of important protections and benefits.
The two couples are Miriam Rand and Ona Porter of Albuquerque, and Rose Griego and Kim Kiel of Santa Fe. They are being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of New Mexico, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and Albuquerque law firm Sutin, Thayer & Browne, APC.
“Ona and I have been together for over 25 years,” Rand said in a statement. “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 lawsuit comes after Santa Fe officials on Tuesday urged county clerks to provide same-sex couples with marriage licenses. The city’s attorney claimed that same-sex marriage was already legal in New Mexico because the state’s definite of marriage was gender-neutral.
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