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NM's LGBTQ Advocates Await Final Passage of Respect for Marriage Act


Monday, December 5, 2022   

New Mexico's LGBTQ community is celebrating passage of the "Respect for Marriage Act" by the U.S. Senate - but also surprised it came about so quickly.

The bill to "prevent discrimination, promote equality and protect the rights of all Americans" is now headed to the House of Representatives for a vote that could come as early as this week.

Same-sex marriage was recognized by New Mexico's Supreme Court in 2013, two years prior to a comparable ruling by the nation's highest court.

Equality New Mexico Executive Director Marshall Martinez has watched as public opinion about same-sex marriage has changed dramatically.

"So, I saw it happen here and I saw it happen at the federal level from the court," said Martinez. "But I don't know that I would have believed, even two or three years ago, that an elected body would make this decision, and at the federal level especially."

Assuming the legislation passes the House, President Joe Biden has said he looks forward to signing it, saying in a statement, "Americans should have the right to marry the person they love."

The bill would not require people or organizations to provide marriage services if the ceremony violates their religious beliefs.

Martinez said last week's Senate vote was a product of decades of activism.

"Organizing works," said Martinez. "And what we know is that gay and lesbian folks specifically were organizing around marriage equality for such a long time, and that organizing can look so different, but the public support increased because of the organizing."

Both of New Mexico's Democratic U.S. Senators - Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan - voted in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act as the Senate passed the bill 61-to-36.

Disclosure: Equality New Mexico contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Human Rights/Racial Justice, LGBTQIA Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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