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Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal In New Mexico

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Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal In New Mexico

Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal In New Mexico

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Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal In New Mexico

Marriage between same-sex couples is now legal in New Mexico. The state Supreme Court issued the ruling on Thursday.

The decision came months after a county clerk in southern New Mexico suddenly began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. After reviewing state law, the Doña Ana County Clerk had decided the language was gender neutral.

On Aug. 21, Dona Aña County issued 40 marriage licenses to same sex-couples. Soon after, seven other New Mexico counties also began issuing licenses.

In September, New Mexico's Association of Counties filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking for guidance on the matter. New Mexico is now the 17th state in the nation to permit gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Peter Simonson, Executive Director of the ACLU-New Mexico, says the ruling will impact thousands of families.

"The important thing is from this moment on, right now, same-sex couples can walk into any county clerks office in the state of New Mexico and be sure that they will be married if they want that," Simonson said.

Opponents aren’t giving up, though. One Republican lawmaker plans to introduce an amendment to the New Mexico Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman during next year's legislative session. If passed, the amendment would go before voters for approval.

Rita Daniels of KUNM contributed to this report.

Updated 12/20/2013 at 9:59 a.m.