The state of New Mexico has become the 17th to legalize gay marriage after a state Supreme Court ruling declared unanimously that denying full marriage licenses and benefits to gay and lesbian couples is unconstitutional.
"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," wrote Justice Edward L. Chavez in the decision, which came after the state Supreme Court was called to rule whether same-sex marriages being performed at the county level were legal or not. Since New Mexico has no laws supporting or banning same-sex marriage, it was up to the judiciary to settle the issue through the court system.
The justices found opponents of gay marriages' argument that gay marriage should not be permitted because same-sex couples are incapable of conceiving less than convincing. "Procreation has never been a condition of marriage under New Mexico law, as evidenced by the fact that the aged, the infertile, and those who choose not to have children are not precluded from marrying," the justices wrote.
The court also noted that in Lawrence v. Texas, 2003, the United States Supreme Court made clear that it has "never held that moral disapproval, without any other asserted state interest ... a sufficient rationale under the Equal Protection Clause to justify a law that discriminates among groups of persons."
An updated map of gay marriage legality can be seen below, courtesy of the Washington Post:
Hawaii and Illinois recognized gay marriage as legal last month.
Read the text of the decision below: