51% Favor Marriage; 53% Back Favorable Court Resolution
ALBUQUERQUE, NM—As the state’s highest court prepares to hear arguments on Oct. 23rd on whether or not New Mexico law allows same-sex couples to marry, a new statewide poll finds strong majority support both for the freedom to marry and a favorable court ruling.
The new poll of 500 voters was commissioned by Why Marriage Matters New Mexico, a public education campaign by Equality New Mexico (EQNM), the ACLU of New Mexico, the national ACLU, Freedom to Marry, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. The poll shows majority voter support for marriage overall (51%-42%) and an even larger number saying the state Supreme Court should rule in favor of marriage (53%-40%).
The poll, conducted Sept. 18-22 by Anzalone Liszt Grove, also finds that important segments of the state support the freedom to marry once they learn that gay and lesbian couples can marry in some New Mexico counties but not others. For example, a majority of Independents (59%), older Hispanics (53%), Anglo men (54%), Catholics (54%) and Hispanics who attend church weekly (53%) support a favorable court ruling. (See memorandum from Anzalone Liszt Grove here.)
"This poll confirms what we already knew: New Mexicans are ready to extend the freedom to marry to loving, committed same-sex couples," said Amber Royster, executive director of EQNM. "Equally important, it shows that most New Mexicans don’t believe marriage equality will have much, if any, impact on their own lives."
"It’s clear that if the New Mexico Supreme Court upholds the lower court’s ruling, the majority of people would embrace that decision," said Peter Simonson, the executive director of ACLU-NM. "Voters don’t want a constitutional amendment on the ballot. They want all New Mexicans to be able to marry the person they love."
The New Mexico Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing on Oct. 23 in response to a request by the state Association of Counties that the Court decide whether or not state law permits same-sex couples to marry. All 33 county clerks joined in the Association’s request that the Court resolve the issue.
The action by the clerks was filed in response to a case brought by six same-sex couples represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico (ACLU-NM), the national ACLU, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and local attorneys. A Sept. 3 ruling in the Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque issued a declaratory judgment against all 33 county clerks, ruling that the New Mexico Constitution requires that marriage licenses be issued to otherwise qualified same-sex couples. The Association seeks a speedy high court decision to resolve the matter.