Pressure is mounting for the state Supreme Court to rule on same-sex marriage in New Mexico this time from the American Civil Liberties Union.
also wants the court to clarify what the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision means for New Mexicans. Now, they're basically asking the New Mexico Supreme Court to allow clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The ACLU has just submitted a writ of mandamus to the New Mexico Supreme Court, asking for a ruling on same-sex marriage.
"It's usually used in an instance where you have an issue of great public importance," said Peter Simonson, executive director of the ACLU in New Mexico. "We feel like we've got that issue at hand."
Gay marriage supporters celebrated just about everywhere, but the issue has yet to be resolved in New Mexico. Same-sex marriage licenses continue to be denied in the state.
He and the ACLU are representing gay couples in lawsuits fighting for the right to marry in New Mexico.
"Since the DOMA decision, our sense of urgency has grown pretty significantly," Simonson told KRQE News 13.
The U.S. Supreme Court also struck down a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, which denied federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples.
Simonson said it's still unclear whether gay couples married legally in other states and who now live in New Mexico will also receive federal benefits.
It's also a question he wants the state Supreme Court to clarify.
"That's an open question, and in 20-some-odd more days, the Supreme Court's decision will go into effect and thus the clock will begin to tick on people's ability to access those benefits," explained Simonson.
Those benefits include joint federal income taxes, Social Security benefits, family medical leave and more. Simonson said there are 1,100 places in federal law where being married makes a difference, which is why supporters of same-sex marriage want the law in New Mexico clarified soon.
"There's a tremendous amount at stake right now. Once the DOMA decision goes into affect, every day that goes by will be another day that couples in New Mexico may not receive the benefits that they're entitled to," said Simonson.
Simonson added he hopes the state Supreme Court will answer the request within the next few weeks. If not, they'll continue their court battle, which could take two to three years.
Attorney General Gary King appears to be playing a role in this, too. An AG's office spokesperson told News 13 the state Supreme Court has asked for his take on one of the court filings.
The Attorney General is expected to respond by July 22. Earlier this year,
he advised county clerks not to issue same-sex marriage licenses until pending lawsuits were decided in state District Court.