ALBUQUERQUE, NM—This morning, same sex couples in Doña Ana County began receiving marriage licenses after County Clerk Lynn Ellins announced his office would issue them. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, two of the organizations litigating a case in the New Mexico courts seeking the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, responded:

“We agree that it’s unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the ability to marry in New Mexico,” said ACLU-NM Legal Director Laura Schauer Ives. “We understand the urgency same-sex couples in New Mexico feel to get married. At the same time, we want to be sure that same-sex couples understand that we will not have certainty until our state courts have the opportunity to weigh in on the issue. The best way to ensure that the licenses issued today in Doña Ana County provide the lasting legal protection that same-sex couples need is for our state courts to move expeditiously to guarantee the freedom to marry for all New Mexicans.”

In addition to working in the courts, the ACLU of New Mexico is partnering with Equality New Mexico and several national organizations to educate the public about marriage for same-sex couples through the Why Marriage Matters New Mexico campaign.

“This morning’s announcement demonstrates how critical the issue of marriage equality is in New Mexico,” said Steve Allen, ACLU-NM Director of Public Policy and campaign co-manager. “It is exciting that people from around the state recognize how unfair it is to deny same-sex couples the freedom to marry. It is our hope that the energy and momentum surrounding marriage will help carry this issue quickly through the courts.”