Griego v. Oliver (NM)
Everyone deserves the freedom to marry the person they love. Same-sex couples want the freedom to marry for the same reasons that all couples do. Marriage represents a couple’s lasting promise of love, commitment and responsibility to each other, made in the presence of family and friends. Not only does marriage provide many important legal protections, it is the most commonly understood and respected way in which couples can publicly show their commitment to love and care for each other and their children.
New Mexico is the only state in the country that does not either explicitly recognize same-sex relationships through marriage or civil unions or ban recognition of same-sex relationships by statute or constitutional amendment.
On March 21, 2013, NCLR, along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of New Mexico, and Albuquerque law firm Sutin, Thayer & Browne, APC, and local cooperating attorneys Maureen Sanders, Lynn Perls, and Kate Girard, filed a lawsuit on behalf of two New Mexico couples seeking the freedom to marry for all same-sex couples in the state. The couples are Rose Griego and Kim Kiel, and Miriam Rand and Ona Porter.
Rose and Kim have been together for eight years and live in Santa Fe. Kim is a financial advisor with an independent private practice. Rose is an accountant by trade and owns her own accounting business. Kim has two children from a previous relationship, who are now in college. Her children call Rose their stepmother. The couple has experienced firsthand the harms that same-sex couples face when they lack the protections of marriage. A few years ago, Rose was hospitalized. Even though Kim had taken her to the emergency room, the hospital refused to provide Kim with any information about Rose’s condition or treatment. It was only after Rose’s family arrived that Kim was able to learn Rose’s prognosis. Rose and Kim want to get married so that everyone will recognize the couple’s love for and commitment to one another.
Miriam and Ona have been together for 25 years and live in Albuquerque. Miriam is the director of an organization that assists families through the process of adoption, and Ona is the president and CEO of a statewide nonprofit organization that focuses on eliminating poverty, building assets for the poor, and challenging racial, gender and class inequities. When they first started dating, Miriam had one daughter from a previous relationship and Ona had two, all of whom are now adults. Miriam and Ona have always loved each other’s children as if they were their own. Together they are caring for their middle daughter, who has multiple sclerosis, and their granddaughter, who has cerebral palsy. Although Miriam, Ona, and their children are a family to all that know them, Miriam and Ona do not have automatic legal authority to make important decisions for one another or their family, as married couples do, and they have faced restrictive policies that made it more difficult for them to visit, care for, and make decisions for parents and siblings who were ill.
The couples’ lawsuit is pending in the Second Judicial District Court for the County of Bernalillo in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
pending | new mexico