One Year Anniversary Same-Sex Marriage in NM: Progress Update

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One year ago today, same-sex couples in New Mexico woke to the news that marriage licenses were being issued in New Mexico.

ProgressNowNM first broke the story on Twitter

BREAKING: Dona Ana County Begins Issuing Same-Sex #Marriage Licenses in New Mexico!- @ProgressNowNM

— ProgressNOW NM (@ProgressNowNM

Not surprisingly, it was a busy day for Dona Ana County as couples filed in from across Southern New Mexico, Texas and eventually even Albuquerque and beyond:

Shortly before the close of business, Ellins estimated that the county clerk’s office had issued about 40 marriage licenses to same-gender couples its first day.

Throughout the day, the office was bustling with activity, as same-sex couples from not only Las Cruces, but also Texas, Albuquerque and other places visited to get their licenses. – Las Cruces Sun-News

Six other county clerks followed suit, most by asking a court for express authorization which came quickly in each case.

ProgressNowNM members raised more than $30,000 for Ellins’ legal defense fund.

Santa Fe’s first same-sex marriages quickly followed the first licenses as several couples joined together in the county building to marry immediately after receiving their licenses from County Clerk Geraldine Salazar.

In Bernalillo County, Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver sought a court decision and began issuing licenses on September 1st. We joined Equality New Mexico in hosting a mass gay wedding on Civic Plaza at noon. More than 200 people attended to watch couples marry. The event was featured in the New York Times the following day:


“Marriage Licenses for Same-Sex Couples Force Issue to Fore in New Mexico” – New York Times, Sept. 2, 2013

A legal case to the state Supreme Court quickly followed with passionate hearings on October 23 as New Mexicans of all stripes gathered in the courtroom, overflow rooms and watch parties across the city to hear arguments:

RT @ProgressNowNM: Watching. Waiting. Hoping. #MarriageEquality@equalitynm@ACLUNM@whymarriageNM@HRC

— Progress Now (@ProgressNow)

The big news came just in time for the holidays. On December 19th, 2013 the New Mexico Supreme Court announced it’s decision:

“We hold that the State of New Mexico is constitutionally required to allow same-gender couples to marry and must extend to them the rights, protections, and responsibilities that derive from civil marriage under New Mexico law” – Justice Chavez, New Mexico Supreme Court, December 19, 2013

And Twitter, Facebook and same-sex couples across New Mexico erupted in celebration:


— Equality New Mexico (@equalitynm)

It’s been an amazing year for progress in New Mexico. But we can’t forget that this effort didn’t happen overnight. It began years ago with some significant milestones along the way. There were the Sandoval 64, the legal opinion by Santa Fe City Attorney Geno Zamora and great organizing by New Mexico’s equality organizations like @EqualityNM @ACLUNM and @ProgressNowNM and all the partners who joined to advance and defend equality under the @NMUnites banner.

Many of those groups are celebrating one year of equality tonight in Albuquerque. See the Facebook event for full info.


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Executive Director 

Marianna Anaya

Deputy Director 

Lucas Herndon

Energy and Policy Director 

Josette Arvizu

Communications Director 

Jackie Aguirre

Communications Specialist 

Edgar Cruz

Communications Specialist 

Alissa Barnes :: Executive Director
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you should know

Alissa Barnes is Executive Director at ProgessNow New Mexico where she leads a team that works on message development, issue and voter education, and amplification of progressive messages and values. She leads the organization in strategy development, fundraising, and organizational growth and sustainability.

Alissa’s background includes nearly 12 years at Roadrunner Food Bank where Alissa led the development and creation of multiple programs that are now national models, invested in community building and collaborations, and worked closely with elected officials, educating about hunger and why policies would either benefit or hurt clients in food lines. She has a BA from the University of New Mexico and various non-profit certifications.
  • If she followed her childhood dream, she would be a Broadway tap dancing star
  • Has seen Frozen 1 and 2 over 100 times
  • Loves heavy metal concerts
Marianna Anaya :: Deputy Director
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you should know

Marianna oversees strategic messaging and creative implementation tactics for issue-based and political campaigns. She leads the team’s digital and earned media programs, bringing a New Mexico values-based approach to her work. 

Marianna’s background includes race and ethnic studies in education as a focus at UT Austin and UCLA, political campaign work, staffing former Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham as well as leading organizing and communications work for the Albuquerque Teachers Federation.

  • She currently serves as the Board President of Emerge NM. 
  • Her hobbies include getting more women, queer folks and BIPOC elected to office.
  • She has three cuddle-worthy dogs at home
Lucas Herndon :: Energy and Policy Director
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you should know

Lucas’ focus is on all things energy and environment, election integrity projects and general messaging strategy. He is often the front facing voice for PNNM when it comes to issues surrounding methane, renewable energy, oil industry accountability, and public lands issues. 

Lucas has an extensive background in public lands and solar energy. He was instrumental in the creation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in 2014 and has participated in every local election since 2012 through phone banking, online organizing, and poll watching. Lucas is a lifelong resident of Las Cruces where he has served in various capacities of leadership including as President of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, District Director for the Dona Ana County Democratic Party, and attending and completing the inaugural classes of the Las Cruces Neighborhood Leadership Academy and the Las Cruces Tree Stewards. 

  • Owned a tattoo shop called Omega Tattoo & Supply 
  • Once got a chin bump “what’s up” from James Harden on an airplane when Harden saw Lucas’ beard 
  • Has a minor in Medieval and Early Modern History
Josette Arvizu :: Communications Director
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you should know

Josette Arvizu is the Communications Director at ProgressNow New Mexico where she oversees the development and implementation of systems that further the external and internal communications of the organization.

Josette’s background in marketing includes copywriting, paid media, SEO and content strategy for businesses and nonprofits, including convention and visitor bureaus from Bermuda to Anaheim. She began her career teaching writing to college students while in New Mexico State University’s MFA in creative writing program. Her previous work promoting diversity and inclusion includes coordination of writing and traditional arts workshops for Native American youth at the Tucson Indian Center.
  • Is a cat mom to an obstinate orange tabby named Quasimodo and a restless grey cat named Squirrel
  • Hasn’t heard a pun she didn’t like
  • Minored in dance in college and is an avid follower of ballet on Instagram
Jackie Aguirre :: Communications Specialist
just the facts

you should know

Jackie’s focus is on graphics and social media marketing that promote progressive issues across our state. 

Jackie’s background includes work in the Reproductive Justice space focusing on Latinx, Chicanx and Mexican-American communities.

  • She is a co-owner of a community art gallery celebrating BIPOC artists
  • She is a long-time volunteer for Planned Parenthood and works with college students to provide condoms/dental dams, menstrual products & other resources
  • She is a part of a group of women who love craft beer and hosts monthly beer shares with beer from all over the country
Edgar Cruz :: Communications Specialist
just the facts

you should know

Edgar Cruz is a Communications Specialist at ProgressNow New Mexico where he focuses on video creation and research that promotes progressive issues across our state.

Edgar has a background producing multimedia initiatives. With over five years of radio production experience, he is a movement agent who believes in exploring all avenues of media to inform and engage community.

  • Is a host of Espejos de Aztlan on KUNM
  • Is a member of Generation Justice
  • First discovered his passion for organizing as a high school student after joining the Youth Alliance in 2009