Same-sex marriage is now legal in every state in the United States after a ruling by the United States Supreme Court. A little more than 11 years after Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that same-sex couples have the right to marry and that laws that barred such marriages are, in fact, unconstitutional. “Were the Court to uphold the challenged laws as constitutional, it would teach the Nation that these laws are in accord with our society’s most basic compact,” Justice Anthonhy Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “Were the Court to stay its hand to allow slower, case-by-case determination of the required availability of specific public benefits to same-sex couples, it still would deny gays and lesbians many rights and responsibilities intertwined with marriage.” Within hours, same-sex couples in states that had previously not allowed same-sex marriages were lining up at courthouses to get married.
In one of the most highly-anticipated U.S. Supreme Court decisions of the year, the country’s high court ruled that the law allowed for subsidies in states with federal exchanges as well as those with state exchanges. New Mexico Political Report asked for responses from members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation to the high profile decision that the U.S. Supreme Court released on Thursday morning. President Barack Obama spoke in the White House Rose Garden, and said if the court had ruled against the Affordable Care Act, “America would have gone backwards.” “Today, after more than 50 votes in Congress to repeal or weaken this law; after a presidential election based in part on preserving or repealing this law; after multiple challenges to this law before the Supreme Court — the Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” Obama said. The high court agreed with the Barack Obama administration that subsidies applied to states that used the federal health exchange as well as those who created their own state-based health exchanges.
The United States Supreme Court dealt a blow this morning to efforts to handicap the Affordable Care Act subsidies provision by deciding 6-3 that federal subsidies for Americans seeking health insurance through state-based exchanges are legal. See the reactions to the ruling from New Mexico’s congressional delegation. Republican opponents of the law sued to have those subsidies, essentially providing discounts on premiums for health policies offered through health exchanges, declared improper because the language of the ACA provided for those subsidies only through state-based exchanges, they argued. The argument said the law did not allow for subsidies in states that relied on the federal exchange instead of those created by the state themselves. “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in a decision for the majority.
A piece of legislation that would put the decennial redistricting in New Mexico in the hands of an independent redistricting commission instead of the state legislature and governor failed in a Senate committee. “This is big,” Sen. Bill O’Neill said in reference to the changes the legislation would make. “This is huge. This is seismic.” The Senate Rules Committee voted overwhelmingly to table the bill, but not all because they disagreed with the bill itself or the sentiments the sponsor said brought him to introduce the legislation.
The United States Supreme Court announced on Friday that it would hear arguments on the question of same-sex marriage. As of now, 36 states allow same-sex marriage and 14 states ban same-sex marriage. A series of decisions by federal appeals courts have struck down same-sex marriage bans in states across the country, leading to the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court hearing. The decision will likely have no immediate effect on New Mexico. At least, that’s the opinion of Maureen Sanders, an attorney who successfully argued in front of the state Supreme Court that New Mexico’s state constitution required same-sex marriages to be allowed.