State Laws and Legislation

New Mexico Marriage/Relationship Recognition Law

Licenses marriages for same-sex couples? No.
For a period in 2004, 66 marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples in Sandoval County. The state attorney general, however, declared the ensuing marriages to be invalid. The Sandoval County Clerk then brought a motion before the state Supreme Court to resume issuing licenses to same-sex couples. On July 8, 2004, the state Supreme Court rejected the motion.

Honors marriages of same-sex couples from other jurisdictions? No explicit prohibition.
New Mexico law states: “All marriages celebrated beyond the limits of this state, which are valid according to the laws of the country wherein they were celebrated or contracted, shall be likewise valid in this state, and shall have the same force as if they had been celebrated in accordance with the laws in force in this state.”

Any form of statewide relationship recognition for same-sex couples? No.

Citation: N.M. STAT. ANN. §40-1-4.

Recent Developments in New Mexico
Sixty-six same-sex couples received marriage licenses in Sandoval County, N.M., Feb. 20, 2004, after a county clerk announced that morning that her office would begin accepting applications for licenses from same-sex couples.

State Attorney General Patricia Madrid, however, issued an order that afternoon declaring the marriages “invalid under state law.” The Sandoval County clerk’s office stopped issuing licenses at 4:15 p.m.

Madrid sought to halt the granting of licenses to same-sex couples until the state Supreme Court or Legislature could address the issue. The Sandoval County clerk, Victoria Dunlap, tried repeatedly to start issuing licenses again, saying New Mexico’s marriage laws are not gender specific. A district court judge then issued a temporary restraining order against Dunlap that prevented her from issuing licenses.

Since February, no same-sex couples have obtained marriage licenses in New Mexico.
New Mexico is one of ten states and the District of Columbia without laws explicitly banning marriage between same-sex couples. Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson has said he opposes marriage rights for same-sex couples.

For more information, visit Coalition for Equality in New Mexico.

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Updated: Mon, March 19, 2007 - 11:00:03