New Mexico has now become the 17th US state to legalize gay marriage. In a unanimous vote, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex unions, making it unconstitutional to deny homosexual couples a marriage license in the Land of Enchantment.
After several counties in New Mexico made a push in August to allow same-sex couples to marry, citizens urged the higher-ups to consider allowing statewide same-sex marriages to be considered lawful. Since state statutes neither banned nor condoned same-sex marriage, it has always been legal for gay couples to apply for marriage licenses. But depending on which county they lived in, it didn't mean they'd be approved … until now.
“We hold that the State of New Mexico is constitutionally required to allow same-gender couples to marry and must extend to them the rights, protections and responsibilities that derive from civil marriage under New Mexico law,” said Justice Edward L. Chavez in the Court's decision.
Just last month, Hawaii and Illinois also made same-sex marriages legal. This also makes New Mexico the first state in the American Southwest to legalize gay marriage. All signs point to a trend of tolerance developing throughout the US. One can only hope.