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Six lawyers to be honored at ACLU awards dinner

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico has named six lawyers to be honored at its annual awards dinner.

The honorees were involved in securing marriage rights for same-sex couples and in preventing misuse of the New Mexico Medical Board to harass local physicians involved in providing abortions.

Lawyer Molly Schmidt-Nowara of Garcia Ives Nowara earlier this year led efforts to keep out-of-state anti-abortion activists from using the medical board’s complaint process toward their political ends. She will be honored as 2013 Cooperating Attorney of the Year.

“New Mexico is under siege by out-of-state, out-of-touch groups who want to prevent New Mexican women from making private medical decisions about abortion,” said ACLU-NM Executive Director Peter Simonson. “This victory was critical to ensuring that women continue to have access to the reproductive health care they need in our state.”

Sharing the Guardian of Liberty awards will be Maureen Sanders of Sanders & Westbrook; Peter S. Kierst and Lynn E. Mostoller of Sutin Thayer & Brown; and solo practitioners N. Lynn Perls and J. Kate Girard.

Together they litigate Griego v. Oliver, the historic legal case in the 2nd District Court in Albuquerque that seeks to win the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in New Mexico.

“With the ruling they helped us secure in August of this year, this group of New Mexico attorneys brought the freedom to marry to more than a thousand loving, committed same-sex couples in our state,” said ACLU-NM Legal Director Laura Schauer Ives. “Although the state Supreme Court has yet to hand down their final ruling, we must recognize these attorneys’ contribution towards ensuring all New Mexico families are fully recognized in our communities.”

The Bill of Rights awards dinner will be at the Sheraton Uptown on Friday.