In the three-page order, the court sets arguments for Oct. 23 in addition to inviting the six plaintiffs couples in the lawsuit filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union to take part in the case. They must file a response by Sept. 23.
Peter Simonson, executive director of the ACLU New Mexico, said in a statement he hopes the hearing will “lead to a speedy decision” resulting in marriage equality for the entire state.
“Now is the time for New Mexico to treat same-sex couples with the same dignity and respect as all other couples and fully respect their lifelong commitments to each other and their families,” Simonson said.
Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, told the Washington Blade his organization welcomes the hearing, but when a final decision will be handed down is unknown.
“We don’t know when the court will rule, but clearly they recognize the importance of the issue and have set an expedited briefing and argument schedule,” Minter said. “They could issue a decision anytime after the argument.”
On Thursday, all 33 New Mexico county clerks joined together in filing a petition asking the New Mexico Supreme Court for a final judgment on marriage equality in the state after eight county clerks — some under court order, some under their own volition — started giving marriage licenses to same-sex couples.