Two same-sex couples have filed suit in New Mexico state court demanding that the Albuquerque county clerk issue them marriage licenses. As some Santa Fe lawmakers pointed out earlier this week, nothing in New Mexico law prohibits same-sex marriage.
Both couple have compelling stories about combining their families, including children from past relationships, as well as taking care of each other in times of need. From the complaint, here is some background about Kim Kiel and Rose Griego:
Before they spent the thousands of dollars necessary to duplicate only some of the rights married couples automatically enjoy, Rose was hospitalized. Even though Kim had taken her to the emergency room, the hospital refused to provide Kim with any information about Rose’s condition or treatment. It was only after Rose’s family arrived that Kim was able to learn Rose’s prognosis.
Kim has two children from a previous relationship, who are now in college. Her children refer to Rose as their step-mother. Her children recognize the couple’s love for and commitment to one another, but Kim and Rose want everyone else to recognize the same. Kim and Rose want to get married, but are unable to do so in New Mexico.
And here is some background about Miriam Rand and Ona Lara Porter:
When they first started dating, Miriam had one daughter from a previous relationship and Ona had two, all of whom are now adults. From the time they combined households, Miriam and Ona loved each other’s children as if they were their own. Their youngest daughter who was just three when they combined families went so far as to go to court to change her surname to Porter-Rand in order to reflect the importance of both of the mothers in her life.
Miriam and Ona’s middle daughter, Cherif, who is now 41, is debilitated by multiple sclerosis. Miriam and Ona are caring for Cherif, and Ona has adopted Cherif’s fourteen-year-old daughter, who herself has cerebral palsy, because Cherif is no longer able to care for her daughter as a result of her disability. Miriam plans to initiate a second parent adoption to ensure that if something were to happen to Ona, their granddaughter would be protected. Although Miriam, Ona, and their granddaughter are a family to all that know them, as individuals, Miriam and Ona do not have automatic legal authority to make important decisions for one another or their child, and they have had to pay significant legal bills to protect their relationship and prove it to others, unlike different-sex couples who can simply marry.
The suit is not the only effort to figure out if same-sex couples can marry. At the request of Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins, state Rep. Bill McCamley (D) is formally requesting that Attorney General Gary King (D) provide guidance about whether clerks can proceed with offering marriage licenses. Ellins said that “Doña Ana County stands ready to stand on the right side of history, given a green light by the Office of the Attorney General.” For now, the question remains unresolved.