The state-by-state push for same-sex marriage rights focused in on New Mexico this week after New Mexico's supreme court ruled that for-profit businesses can't discriminate against wedding and commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples. The ruling comes just one day after a New Mexico county began issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples, arguing that the state's law doesn't actually say anything about prohibiting gay marriage anyway.
New Mexico's marriage laws are uniquely ambiguous, making the state something of a weird case study for the gay marriage battle in the U.S.: the state has no laws on the books specifically addressing the issue of same-sex marriage, nor does it have a provision allowing or banning civil unions or similar legal statuses. Instead, the state tentatively recognizes same-sex marriages from other states while functioning as if state law prohibits gay marriage. Two attempts to get related measures on the state's November 2014 ballot — one to legalize same-sex marriages, and the other to ban them — failed to make it out of the state's legislature. The city of Santa Fe, meanwhile, decided this year that the state's laws already legalize same-sex marriage. Plus, a series of lawsuits have challenged the state's interpretation of its current laws as an effective ban on gay marriage prompting New Mexico's Attorney General Gary King to announce that he wouldn't defend the state against them. King believes the state's equal protection laws render those bans unconstitutional.