ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Same-sex couples and supporters in New Mexico were celebrating the Supreme Court decision quashing the federal Defense of Marriage Act Wednesday, but it appears their road to equality is still a long one.
"We're just elated. This is a historic day, and it is a great step forward for equality in our country," said Executive Director Peter Simonson of the American Civil Liberties Union in New Mexico.
Simonson said it's a good day, but there are still a lot of questions.
"We know at the very least, married couples living in states that recognize same sex marriage unequivocally enjoy those benefits," he said. "Now the question is, what about those couples who've been married out of state and living in a state that doesn't recognize that marriage?"
New Mexico is one of those states. The ACLU is waiting for clarification. In the meantime it will continue to represent same-sex couples who sued the Bernalillo County Clerk for denying them marriage licenses.
The debate arose in Santa Fe, where City Attorney Geno Zamora argues same-sex marriage is legal .
However, Attorney General Gary King has not issued a legal opinion on the matter. He stated a few weeks ago, he wouldn't do so, pending litigation with Bernalillo County.
The ACLU believes a judge's decision in it's lawsuit will help make the issue clear.
"It will decide the question once and for all whether these couples have their marriages recognized, whether they can be married legally in this state," Simonson said.
Gov. Susana Martinez told KRQE News 13 Wednesday, she believes voters should decide. There's been talk of a constitutional amendment allowing the people of New Mexico to decide if same-sex marriage should be legal in the state.
"I do believe if we're going to change anything overall, that the people of New Mexico should be the ones to decide it, and not the 112 politicians at the Roundhouse," Martinez said referring to the state capitol.
The ACLU is hopeful.
"There is such momentum building towards equality, and I think finally the country has turned a corner, on its attitudes around this issue," said Simonson. "And I think we're probably going to see only good things coming down the road."
The ACLU told News 13 the lawsuit is in state district court and has not been scheduled for trial yet. The court battle could take two to three years.
Martinez said her personal belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman hasn't changed. She says it's unclear if the issue will be address in the next legislative session in January.
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