NM Supreme Court to hear arguments in defense of state’s marriage laws
Attorney sound bite: Jim Campbell
SANTA FE, N.M. — Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Jim Campbell will be available for media interviews Wednesday following oral arguments at the New Mexico Supreme Court concerning New Mexico’s marriage laws. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent numerous current and former state lawmakers who filed a brief with the court last month. The case reached the state’s high court after a district judge ordered Bernalillo County to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
“The union between one man and one woman--marriage--is timeless, universal, and special. New Mexico’s laws have reflected this from the beginning, and nothing has changed,” said Campbell. “The legislators who enacted New Mexico’s marriage laws unquestionably understood marriage to be the union of a man and a woman, as both the current and former state attorneys general have acknowledged. Nothing in New Mexico’s constitution requires the state to change this understanding of marriage.”
As the legislators’ friend-of-the-court brief submitted in the case Griego v. Oliver explained, “The intent of the Legislature, a comprehensive reading of all the statutes addressing marriage, this Court’s treatment of marriage, the consensus of past and present New Mexico Attorneys General, and an unbroken line of precedent from other jurisdictions all confirm that the marriage statutes in this State permit marriage only between one man and one woman.”
The brief cited numerous examples in New Mexico marriage law of sex-specific language, including the use of the terms “male,” “female,” “husband,” and “wife.” It also provided substantial evidence that the rational purpose of those laws fully comports with the state constitution.
The New Mexico Supreme Court has acknowledged that it will generally uphold state laws against constitutional attack. To that end, it has written, “It is well settled that there is a presumption of the validity and regularity of legislative enactments. This Court must uphold such statutes unless it is satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that the Legislature went outside the Constitution in enacting the challenged legislation. This Court has repeatedly refused to inquire into the wisdom, the policy or the justness of an act of the Legislature.” Stated differently in a later case, the high court wrote that the state’s courts will customarily “defer to the Legislature’s judgment in enacting social…legislation.”
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.