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EQNM Applauds Lawsuit Seeking the Freedom to Marry for Same-Sex Couples in New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 21, 2013 CONTACT: Amber Royster, (505) 224-2766 or ALBUQUERQUE, NMToday, Equality New Mexico (EQNM) applauds the groundbreaking lawsuit filed this afternoon on behalf of two same-sex couples in our community seeking the freedom to marry. The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of New Mexico, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and Albuquerque law firm Sutin, Thayer & Brown. The legal complaint asserts that the New Mexico Constitution and New Mexico marriage statutes do not prohibit same-sex couples from marrying, and therefore the State of New Mexico should issue civil marriage licenses to any same-sex couple who applies for one. New Mexico is the only state in the country that neither expressly recognizes same-sex relationships through marriage or civil unions, nor bans recognition of same-sex relationships through statute or constitutional amendment. Equality New Mexico has tirelessly advocated for LGBT New Mexicans for over two decades as New Mexico's leading statewide LGBT advocacy and education organization, said Amber Royster, Executive Director of EQNM. Over the past several years, we have devoted the majority of our attention and resources toward winning the freedom to marry in New Mexico, and we are confident this litigation effort signals that soon all couples will be able to marry in the Land of Enchantment. The couples represented in the lawsuit are Miriam Rand, 63, and Ona Porter, 66, and Rose Griego, 46, and Kim Kiel, 44. Miriam and Ona currently live in Albuquerque, while Rose and Kim reside in Santa Fe. It is anticipated that more couples will join the lawsuit as it progresses. Ona and I have been together for over 25 years, said Miriam Rand. 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. Marriage matters, said Rose Griego. Kim and I have already made a lifelong commitment to one another, but marriage says family in a way that no other word can. Its important to us that the State of New Mexicoour home, the place where we live, work and raised our family recognizes and respects our relationship. -more-

A public education campaign coordinated by EQNM and ACLU New Mexico, and supported by national partners including Freedom to Marry, is also underway to increase public support for the freedom to marry in New Mexico. Like the couples who filed litigation today, it's important that we share our stories and have conversations about why marriage matters, said Royster. It's about family, it's about respect, and it's about the promise of stronger and more vibrant communities. Today's litigation not only inspires and informs these conversations, but it provides our great state the opportunity to be a leader in fairness, justice and equality. EQNM is proud to be at the forefront of this journey.

Equality New Mexico is a statewide education and advocacy organization that works for full recognition of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights.
Visit us on the web: @equalitynm