UNM Law School Faculty Address Rights of Same-Sex Couples

UNM Law School Faculty Address Rights of Same-Sex Couples

Faculty who teach at the University of New Mexico School of Law were involved in two recent New Mexico Supreme Court cases addressing the rights of same-sex couples.

In Elane Photography v. Willock, the NM Supreme Court ruled that a business serving the public violated New Mexico’s anti-discrimination law by refusing its services to a same-sex couple because of their sexual orientation. The couple had requested photos of their commitment ceremony. Visiting Professor Sarah Steadman, who teaches in the Community Lawyering Clinic, was one of the attorneys for the customer, Vanessa Willock. In a unanimous decision for Ms. Willock, the Court stated that "[antidiscrimination laws] force businesses to treat customers alike, regardless of their race, religion, or other protected status. These laws are necessary precisely because some businesses would otherwise refuse to work with certain customers whom the laws protect."

In Griego v. Oliver, a case raising issues relating to the right of same-sex couples to marry under the New Mexico Constitution, Professors George Bach and Max Minzner filed an Amicus Brief arguing two points: first, that discrimination based on sexual orientation deserves intermediate scrutiny under the state equal protection clause and second, that a limitation on same sex marriage requires strict scrutiny as a result of the inherent rights clause of the New Mexico Constitution.

December 5, 2013