Monday, October 21, 2013

NM Supremes to Hear Marriage Equality This Week, But Don't Expect Immediate Decision

Wednesday is the day the state Supreme Court hears oral arguments on same-sex marriage.

But lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union said in a teleconference this afternoon that the high court has informed them that there will be no decision coming from the bench. Laura Schauer Ives, legal director for the state ACLU said hopefully the court will decide by the end of the year.

The lawsuits filed in at least two state courts by Republican lawmakers opposed to county clerks issuing marriage license to same-sex couples will not be part of Wednesday's hearing. However,  Elizabeth Gill, a national ACLU lawyer, said those legislators filed an amicus brief and will get time to present their arguments against marriage equality before the court on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, five state district judges ordered clerks to county clerks in Santa Fe, Bernalillo, Los Alamos, Taos, and Grant counties to issue licenses to same sex couples. A total of eight counties out of New Mexico's 33 counties are issuing licenses to gay couples.

More than 900 same-sex couples have been issued marriages this year.

The teleconference took place on the same day as New Jersey became the 14th state to allow same-sex marriage. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who opposed the decision by his state Supreme Court, announced this morning he won't appeal the case.