Griego v. Oliver

Brief Filed: 9/13
Court: New Mexico Supreme Court
Year of Decision: 2013

Read the full-text amicus brief (PDF, 444KB)

Issue

Whether the New Mexico Constitution compels the state to allow same-sex couples the freedom to marry.

Index Topic

Sexual Orientation (discrimination; same-sex marriage)

Facts

Five same-sex couples filed a lawsuit against the State of New Mexico and the Santa Fe and Bernalillo county clerks seeking the freedom to marry. The lawsuit argues that the New Mexico marriage statutes and the New Mexico Constitution do not bar same-sex couples from marrying, and that the New Mexico Constitution requires the state to allow same-sex couples the freedom to marry. The initial complaint, filed in March 2013, included two couples as plaintiffs and the Bernalillo County Clerk as a defendant. An amended complaint, naming three additional same-sex couples as additional plaintiffs and the State of New Mexico as an additional defendant, was filed in June 2013.

On July 2, the plaintiffs filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with the New Mexico Supreme Court. The state supreme court denied the petition. Another petition was filed with the state supreme court for a writ of superintending control, seeking to consolidate this case with Hanna v. Salazar and any future cases which might be filed. The state supreme court dismissed that petition as moot. A third petition was filed with the state supreme court for a writ of superintending control after the clerks of the 31 counties not already defendants intervened in the case asking the New Mexico Supreme Court to take over the case and issue a final decision as to the constitutionality of denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry that would apply statewide. Oral arguments before the New Mexico Supreme Court is scheduled for Oct. 23, 2013.

APA's Position

APA was joined by the New Mexico Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the National Association of Social Workers in Mexico, and the New Mexico Pediatric Society as amici in support of the plaintiffs. Similar to previous briefs filed by APA, the amicus brief provided extensive psychological research on key points, including how sexual orientation is related to the gender of partners to whom one is attracted — meaning that prohibiting same-sex marriage discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, rather than just imposing disparate burdens on gay people. The brief addressed how homosexuality is a normal expression of human sexuality and that sexual orientation is generally not chosen and is resistant to change. Also provided was current scientific research on the nature of same-sex relationships, the role of child-rearing and the stigma resulting from denying the label “marriage” to same-sex unions. For example, the brief cited psychological research showing that gay and lesbian parents are not any less fit or capable than heterosexual parents, and that their children are not less adjusted.

Results

On Dec. 19, 2013, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that the state constitution requires that same-sex couples must be treated equally under the law and have the same fundamental right to marry as other couples.