LGBT rights in New Mexico

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LGBT rights in New Mexico
Map of USA NM.svg
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1975
Gender identity/expression Altering sex on birth certificate requires SRS
Discrimination protections Yes (both on sexual orientation and gender identity)
Family rights
Recognition of
Same-sex marriage legal statewide since December 2013
Adoption Yes

New Mexico has seen prominent advances in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, being legal since 1975,[1][dead link] and more progress has been made since then, especially post 2000's. Same-sex marriage is legal statewide in New Mexico, as is adoption and donor insemination rights for lesbian couples. Same-sex couples now share in identical rights as heterosexual married couples do. The capital of New Mexico, Santa Fe, is often cited as one of the United States' gay capitals;[2][3] and the state's largest city Albuquerque, including its large metropolitan area, is often referred to as a "gay friendly" city.[3][4][5]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

State marriage laws do not explicitly require married couples to be of different genders and prior to December 2013 state courts had not ruled on the question of same-sex marriage.[6] New Mexico has never recognised alternative relationship recognition schemes, such as civil unions or domestic partnerships. New Mexico recognizes out-of-state marriages that are valid in the jurisdiction where they are contracted.[7] In January 2011, state Attorney General Gary King issued an opinion that valid same-sex marriages contracted in other states "would likely be valid in New Mexico".[8][9]

On December 19, 2013, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that the state must provide same-sex couples with the same marriage rights as different-sex couples, making New Mexico the 17th U.S. state to recognize same-sex marriage.[10]

New Mexico has provided benefits to same-sex partners of state employees since 2003.[11]

Adoption and parenting[edit]

New Mexico allows single persons to adopt children. The state has no prohibition on adoption by same-sex couples or second-parent adoptions, and as stated, allows those adoptions.[12]

Lesbian couples can get access to IVF and donor insemination without regard to their sexual orientation or marital status.

In June 2012, following the separation of a lesbian couple, the state's highest court granted parental rights to the one of them who had been unable to adopt her partner's adopted child but who had helped raise and had supported the child financially.[13]

Discrimination protection[edit]

State law covers hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity.[14]

Since the passage of An Act Relating to Human Rights, which became effective July 1, 2003, New Mexico law protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity "in matters of employment, housing, credit, public accommodations and union membership." An Executive Order issued by Governor Toney Anaya in 1985 prohibits discrimination in public employment on the basis of sexual orientation.[15]

In June 2012, a three-judge panel of the New Mexico Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a claim against a photography studio that refused to take pictures of a same-sex couple's commitment ceremony in 2006.[16] On August 22, 2013, the New Mexico Supreme Court upheld that ruling in a unanimous decision in Elane Photography v. Willock. It held that enforcing the anti-discrimination provisions of the New Mexico Human Rights Act did not violate the photographer's free speech rights.[17] The U.S. Supreme Court announced it would not consider an appeal in the case on April 7, 2014.[18]

Conversion therapy ban[edit]

In 2017, state senator Jacob Candelaria and state representative G. Andres Romero sponsored SB 121,[19] which bans sexual orientation change efforts (conversion therapy) on minors. The New Mexico Senate approved the bill on February 16, 2017 by a 32–6 vote, and the New Mexico House of Representatives concurred on March 15, 2017 by a 44–23 vote. The bill was signed by Governor Susana Martinez on April 7, 2017.[20] The law went into effect immediately.


  1. ^ "New Mexico Sodomy Law". Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  2. ^ Albo, Mike (January 12, 2011). "Gayest Cities in America February 2011". Retrieved August 29, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Welcome to gay friendly Santa Fe". Gay New Mexico. Retrieved 2015-08-29.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Gay_New_Mexico" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  4. ^ "LGBT". Visit Albuquerque. 2013-12-19. Retrieved 2015-08-29. 
  5. ^ "". Retrieved 2015-08-29. 
  6. ^ Albuquerque Journal: Susan Montoya Bryan, "Same-Sex Couples Line Up in Sandoval County To Get Married ," February 20, 2004 . Retrieved April 2, 2011
  7. ^ Arthur S. Leonard, Homosexuality and the Constitution, vol. 4 Homosexuality and the Family (NY: Garland, 1997), 175, available online. Retrieved April 9, 2011
  8. ^ Democracy for New Mexico. "Attorney General Gary King Issues Opinion Supporting Recognition of Out-of-State Same-Sex Marriages". Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  9. ^ Terrell, Steve (January 5, 2011). "AG: Other states' same-sex marriages valid in N.M.". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  10. ^ Blake, Aaron (December 19, 2013). "New Mexico Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage". Washington Post. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  11. ^ National Conference of State Legislatures: "States offering benefits for same-sex partners of state employees". Retrieved April 16, 2011
  12. ^ Human Rights Campaign: New Mexico Adoption Law, accessed April 9, 2011
  13. ^ The Advocate: Neal Broverman, "A Win for Gay Mothers in New Mexico," June 2, 2012, accessed June 4, 2012
  14. ^ "New Mexico Hate Crimes Law". Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  15. ^ HRC: New Mexico Non-Discrimination Law, accessed June 3, 2012
  16. ^ "NM court upholds gay discrimination ruling". Huffington Post. June 5, 2012. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  17. ^ Justin, Snow (August 22, 2013). "New Mexico Supreme Court rules photographer cannot deny services to same-sex couple". Metro Weekly. Retrieved August 22, 2013.  Elane Photography, LLC v. Willock, 309 P.3d (N.M. 2013).
  18. ^ Wolf, Richard (April 7, 2014). "Supreme Court won't hear case on gay wedding snub". USA Today. Retrieved April 7, 2014.  Elane Photography, LLC v. Willock, 134 S.Ct. 1787 (U.S. 2014).
  19. ^ 2017 Regular Session - SB 121
  20. ^ "Martinez signs bill on conversion therapy; vetoes gun ban for restraining orders, minimum wage". KOB. April 7, 2017.