New Mexicans Celebrate Statewide Marriage Equality
December 20, 2013 by HRC staff
Post submitted by Leigh Durham, HRC field organizer
What a day for New Mexicans, and what a night of celebrating across the state!
After yesterday’s historic ruling from the NM Supreme Court, three rallies were held to celebrate the decision.
Southern New Mexicans gathered at First Christian Church in Las Cruces for an afternoon rally. Elected officials including Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins, who was the first to begin issuing marriage licenses in New Mexico in August. State Rep. Bill McCamley, County Commission Chair Billy Garret, and City Councillors Nathan Small and Greg Smith also attended. The group heard from several recently married couples in the area, as well as faith leaders Rev. Linda Mervine of First Christian Church and Father Jim Lehman of Holy Family Ecumenical Catholic Church of Las Cruces. Orlando Antonio Jimenez,a local mariachi singer, closed the rally with a love song to his husband, sharing that it was the first time he was able to serenade him in public.
In Albuquerque, over 300 people gathered at Morningside Park. With candles lighting the path centered around the LGBT memorial in the park, the crowd shared joy and excitement while speakers represented the ACLU legal team, plaintiffs, and allied organizations in this struggle. HRC and NM Unites for Marriage Field Organizer Marshall Martinez spoke about the years of small victories within the local movement and the hard work of countless individuals along the way. Amber Royster, Executive Director of Equality NM reminded the crowd that while this is a huge victory, it is only the beginning and we must ensure the decision is protected.
Outside the Supreme Courthouse in Santa Fe, equality supporters and longtime activists filled the front lawn, waving rainbow flags and holding candles, singing a rendition of "This Little Light of Mine" led by faith leaders of several denominations despite the cold. Plaintiff couple Tanya Struble and Therese Councilor expressed their gratitude and shared happiness for all New Mexican couples who now held the freedom to marry. Speakers including State Rep. Brian Egolf and Santa Fe City Councilor Patti Bushee thanked the Justices for a sweeping and thorough opinion and all of the couples who paved the way.
In Washington, D.C., HRC staff proudly raised the New Mexico flag high above its headquarters in celebration of the marriage equality victory.
In the midst of the joy felt throughout New Mexico yesterday, State Senator William Sharer finalized plans to pre-file a Constitutional Amendment explicitly banning same-sex marriage, in hopes to invalidate yesterday's decision in the upcoming legislative session. New Mexicans are going to have to come together and defend the Supreme Court victory, making sure it remains the law of the land.
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