New Mexico has been home to Hispanic and Native American people for many centuries and more recently to Anglo populations. Our diversity is part of what sets us apart and what we treasure, and that’s why it’s not surprising that we have long welcomed and accepted gay and lesbian people in our families, neighborhoods and workplaces.
As mayors of two major New Mexico cities, representing businesses, as well as promoting the aspirations of everyday New Mexicans, we were elated by our Supreme Court’s decision to grant marriage equality to everyone in the state. Clearly, every person deserves this basic freedom.
We also know that marriage equality brings fairness to the workplace and presents our state to all our customers, whether local or visiting, as a welcoming place to live, work and visit.
We see marriage equality as a series of big pluses – from attracting and keeping the best and the brightest employees – to contributing to our state’s bottom line.
In fact, according to a recent study by the Williams Institute, allowing same-sex marriage statewide over the next three years will bring in nearly $800,000 in gross tax receipt revenues for New Mexico. And that doesn’t begin to touch what it will mean for our hospitality business, which relies on both in-state and out-of-state spending on engagements, weddings and, yes, anniversaries.
Tourism has always been a big driver of our economy, second only to mining. Robust tourism doesn’t just benefit a few, it can make the difference between red and black ink for many of us.
Surely, we would all benefit from presenting New Mexico as a “land of enchantment” for every family.
In New Mexico, we believe in treating everyone as we would like to be treated ourselves. That daily mantra is something our business owners live every day.
They want to be an inviting place of commerce for their customers and that begins with treating every employee equally and with respect. Marriage equality for our employers, particularly those running small operations, simplifies that goal and objective.
As we all work to survive and thrive in an economy that continues to be challenging, we would hope that this historic and overdue court decision can simply stand. A divisive legislative debate on the freedom to marry would not only delay the positive benefits of marriage equality by creating an uncertain climate for our gay and lesbian family members and friends, it would send the wrong message to vacationers and potential business investors.
Finally, at the end of the day, every business owner is a member of someone’s family. And in New Mexico, we’ve always treated every family member with respect. We know that gay and lesbian New Mexicans want to marry for the same reasons most of us have married – to share our love, to make a public commitment and to take responsibility for one another and our children.
The New Mexico Supreme Court got it right, and hundreds of business owners from every corner of the state stand with us. Let’s now move forward, embrace the freedom to marry and send the message far and wide that New Mexico is a great place to visit and a great place to get married and raise a family.