Same-Sex Marriage in New Mexico Would Benefit Thousands of Families

More than 1,030 same-sex couples are raising 2,000 children in the state but not allowed to access marriage benefits, according to the Williams Institute.

BY Alex J Davidson

November 18 2013 2:30 PM ET

Legalizing same-sex marriage in New Mexico would yield $15.6 million in new spending and benefit nearly 2,000 children being raised by same-sex parents, according to new information from the Williams Institute.

In an infographic the Williams Institute also estimates that 2,912 couples will marry in the first three years, if allowed, bringing in nearly $800,000 in gross tax receipt revenues for New Mexico.

“If same-sex couples are allowed to marry in New Mexico, businesses will experience increased spending from wedding ceremonies,” according to the Williams Institute, a think tank at the University of California, Los Angeles, law school focused on LGBT issues. “State and local government will gain from additional spending.”

Current law in New Mexico does not explicitly prohibit or allow same-sex couples marriage, but there are laws on the books preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. New Mexico does have adoption equality and permits joint and second-parent adoptions for same-sex couples. It also recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other states.

The issue of legalizing same-sex marriage has now shifted to New Mexico after recent victories in Illinois and Hawaii. In late October New Mexico’s Supreme Court  heard arguments about whether to legalize such marriages.

This came after the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of New Mexico, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the law firm of Satin, Theyer, and Browne formally filed legal briefs with the court in September, responding to a request from 33 county clerks who asked the court to determine whether New Mexico recognizes the freedom to marry statewide. Clerks in several counties have already issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples. There is not yet a timeline as to when the court will issue its ruling.

According to the Williams Institute, New Mexico has the highest proportion of Latino/a same-sex couples among households. The state also has an estimated 1,030 same-sex couples raising nearly 2,000 children, meaning a ruling for marriage equality would impact not just individual couples but entire families.

Contact reporter Alex Davidson on Twitter at twitter.com/adwildcat

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