SANTA FE, N.M. — The New Mexico Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in favor of same-sex couples, granting them all the same rights of marriage enjoyed by heterosexual couples.
The court’s 31-page opinion states, in part, that: “All rights, protections, and responsibilities that result from the marital relationship shall apply equally to both same-gender and opposite-gender married couples.”
New Mexico joins 16 other states, the District of Columbia, and several Native American tribes in recognizing same-sex unions.
Justice Edward Chavez, who authored the unanimous opinion, rejected arguments made during an October hearing by opponents of same-sex marriage.
“Procreation has never been a condition of marriage under New Mexico law, as evidenced by the fact that the aged, the infertile, and those who choose not to have children are not precluded from marrying,” Chavez wrote in his opinion.
However, the ruling also stipulated that religious clergy who do not agree with same-sex marriage are not required to perform marriage ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples.