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New Mexico's Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is legal as denying same-sex couples the right to marry is unconstitutional.
The case began as a county clerk in southern New Mexico had decided to start allowing same-sex marriage licenses, The Associated Press reports.
Several other clerks began following suit as the state didn't prohibit same-sex marriage license issues, most just refused because of the license form needing a husband and wife. So county officials asked the state's highest court to provide a ruling on the state's view of gay marriage.
New Mexico joins 16 other states and Washington, D.C. in allowing same-sex couples to get married.
The Supreme Court judges said in their ruling: "Prohibiting same-gender marriages is not substantially related to the governmental interests advanced by the parties opposing same-gender marriage or to the purposes we have identified."
The ruling adds, "Therefore, barring individuals from marrying and depriving them of the rights, protections, and responsibilities of civil marriage solely because of their sexual orientation violates" the state's constitution.
According to The Huffington Post, the judges' rulings sides with a state district judge who previously ruled this year that it also was unconstitutional based on New Mexico's Constitution.
image: Wikimedia Commons