The retail giant Walmart has decided to extend its benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of its LGBT employees. Granted, Walmart is a terrible employer that exploits its workers and pays them poor wages but this move is symbolically important because the socially conservative Arkansas-based company is so huge and because it has stated that its policy will take effect in all 50 states, irrespective of whether that state recognizes same-sex marriage or not. It is a major step forward.
Meanwhile there is an interesting development in New Mexico. That state’s marriage laws do not explicitly include same-sex couples but do not forbid them either, stating simply that “Marriage is contemplated by the law as a civil contract, for which the consent of the contracting parties, capable in law of contracting, is essential.”
On the other hand, the marriage license form lists space for one male applicant and one female applicant. This has led to some confusion with some county clerks issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and others denying them.
This has resulted in those clerks who declined to do so being sued and now two state court judges have ordered the clerks to issue marriage licenses and over a hundred have already been given out. The issue is very likely to end up in the state Supreme Court and it seems likely that, in the wake of the US Supreme Court rulings last year, they will uphold the lower court rulings, especially since the fact that so many couples have already got married creates a fait accompli.