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Gay Marriage in New Mexico: Why We Aren’t Running Down the Aisle

It was a partly sunny day, with temperatures hovering in the mid-thirties, when gay marriage finally came to New Mexico. We were the seventeenth state to allow GLBT marriage, along with the District of Columbia. However, the news arrived with little fanfare – there was never a California-sized fight. There weren’t rallies, banners and protests by the Bible Thumpers. It just happened and everyone expected us to rush to the courthouse.

Certainly, we’re thrilled. We’ve been waiting for this for a very long time, but we feel that we’re already married. Plus, we got sucked into the whole Prop 8 debacle in California.

I met Juliet in 2007 while living in Los Angeles. It was love at first listen – her British accent enchanted me – and within a few months we were living together. Well, she’ll deny it because she made me go home one night a week so that we weren’t technically living together…

That Christmas we each went to visit our families: hers in England and mine in Ohio. It was the crappiest holiday ever. When we reunited for New Year’s, we took a trip to Big Bear Lake. We’d missed each other so much and knew we wanted forever so we got engaged. Here’s the ring:

1920s Tiffany! Yeah, she LOVES it.
1920s Tiffany! Yeah, she LOVES it.

We planned for a longer engagement to give our families (and her British friends) time to make travel plans so that they could join us for our Big Day. We set the date for September 19, 2009.

Then, in June 2008, the Supreme Court of California legalized gay marriage. We were ready to run to the courthouse immediately until reality stopped us in our tracks. We wanted to share our special day with our loved ones – my daughter was supposed to be my bridesmaid. She was going to year round chef school in the Midwest and it was the middle of her semester. Besides, once you’re given a right, how could it be taken away? We thought we had time.

We started looking for venues and it took several weeks. On a Saturday we boarded a vintage yacht, the Zumbrota. The assistant who was showing us around it mentioned that Mae West had once owned it. I looked at Juliet with a twinkle in my eye. Yes, this was the place!

Mae West hittin’ the High Seas in this, baby!
Mae West hittin’ the High Seas in this, baby!

After booking the venue, all of the vendors, plus a honeymoon in Mexico, November rolled around and to our utter shock Prop 8 passed. What happened to laid back California?

Overnight, our wedding lost its legal significance. A majority voted to take a minority’s rights away. We were hurt and we were pissed. And, we’d missed the chance to make our marriage legal. There were weeks of marching, rallies and speeches. It became clear that Prop 8 (and challenges to it) would have to work their way through the legal system before gay marriages could resume in the state.

We decided to get married with or without the majority’s consent. As planned, on September 19, 2009, we got hitched in our hearts, our minds and our souls. Here are some photos of our big gay wedding!

Then we had an awesome and romantic honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta.

Our favorite Honeymoon moment — holding baby jaguars!
Our favorite Honeymoon moment — holding baby jaguars!

Back to New Mexico. We’re tired of our personal life being dictated by the government (although we are relieved that the change is finally a positive one). We feel that rushing to the courthouse because the state has finally decided to do what was right would undermine our true wedding. We knew were we in love and made that commitment in 2009. It just took the legislature four years longer to figure out what we already knew.

So, we’ve made the decision to “renew our vows” (along with making it legal) as close to our real wedding date as we can. We’ll post our celebration photos of our five year anniversary/vow renewal on Facebook sometime in September.

And, since we love quotes, here’s the best on marriage that we’ve found:

Don’t marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you think you can’t live without.

Lane & Juliet

The writing and photography team behind Southwest Compass, the travel blog for the American Southwest.


Scott - Quirky Travel Guy

Congrats on getting another opportunity to marry! I imagine I’ll be getting hitched in the next couple of years now that it’s legal in Illinois… no rush though. It’s been amazing to watch how fast things have been happening over the last year and a half.
Scott – Quirky Travel Guy recently posted..Quirky Attraction: Museum of World TreasuresMy Profile

The Duo

I know. The speed of evolution has jumped forward. 17 states… and several more with proposals in the works. It’s just a matter of time before the federal government will have to catch up. :)


Love it! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I look forward to the day when people don’t get yanked around by the government and we can all live in love and happiness.
Lance recently posted..Dining Out at a Gourmet Gas StationMy Profile

The Duo

Thanks — we’re looking forward to that day also.

Kay Dougherty

Nice/sad/ultimately happy story! At least you went ahead with the wedding that mattered emotionally. You can do the stuff with the guvment when it damned well suits you!
Kay Dougherty recently posted..How to use TripAdvisor®My Profile

The Duo

Agreed. Thanks for the support, and the comment!


Yep. You’re already married, so the new law shouldn’t be any big deal. But I’m glad that NM recognizes it now for those who have been waiting. I hope your renewal of vows is spectacular!
Juliann recently posted..Things to Know if You Travel to JOGMy Profile

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