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Same-sex couples file lawsuit seeking freedom to marry in New Mexico

Thursday, March 21, 2013
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Two same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry filed a lawsuit Thursday in Albuquerque’s district court after they applied for and were denied marriage licenses by the Bernalillo County Clerk.

The lawsuit claims that the New Mexico marriage statutes and New Mexico Constitution do not bar 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.

Plaintiffs (from left): Kim Kiel, Rose Griego, Miriam Rand, and Ona Porter

The couples are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of New Mexico, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the Albuquerque law firm Sutin, Thayer & Browne, APC, and local cooperating attorneys Maureen Sanders, Lynn Perls, and Kate Girard.

New Mexico is the only state in the country that does not either explicitly recognize same-sex relationships through marriage or civil unions or ban recognition of same-sex relationships by statute or constitutional amendment.

The couples are Miriam Rand, 63, and Ona Porter, 66, and Rose Griego, 47, and Kim Kiel, 44. Miriam and Ona currently live in Albuquerque, while Rose and Kim reside in Santa Fe.

“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.”

Earlier this week, Santa Fe city officials said they believe New Mexico law allows county clerks to issue licenses for same-sex marriages. Santa Fe City Attorney Geno Zamora agreed, saying that New Mexico law defining marriage is gender-neutral and lacks any prohibition on same-sex marriage.

Developing story, check back for updates.

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