It is 2021. Sarah Smith and John Jones apply for a marriage license in Bernalillo County. The Clerk declines to give them a license because Jones is already married to Mary Doe-Jones, and New Mexico law prohibits anyone from having more than one spouse. Smith and Jones sue the Clerk claiming a denial of equal protection. In their Complaint, they assert that their desire to marry does not stem from religious conviction but because they love each other, want to have children together, support each other, and in all other ways provide each other with the support and companionship traditionally associated with marriage. Smith also asserts that she wants the economic and other legal benefits that the state confers on married persons. They assert that they believe and will prove that a plural marriage is better, healthier and more likely to be lasting and satisfactory than one-partner marriage. They assert that they believe and will prove that any children they might have will be at least as well cared for as children born to a one-partner marriage. They supply a sworn affidavit from Mary Doe-Jones in which she testifies that she agrees with Sarah and John, and likewise wishes that Sarah could join her marriage to John. All three are fully competent adults.
The Attorney General of New Mexico files a brief in which she argues that the State has a substantial interest in defining marriage as between two people only. The memorandum argues that even the same sex marriage cases have always treated marriage as between two people, and that while the very essence of marriage may not require two people of different sexes, a “union” of more than two people simply isn’t marriage at all, but another institution entirely which the state is under no obligation to recognize. The Attorney General further asserts that if plaintiffs win it will greatly complicate the administration of divorce and property laws.
You are the clerk to the district court judge assigned to the case. The judge asks you for a memo assessing the strengths and weaknesses Smith and Jones’s case, and recommending how she should rule and why. What do you write?
Must use some of these as evidence
Romer v. Evans (1996)
Goodridge v. Massachusetts DPH (2003) [Learn]
Griego v. Oliver (N.M. Sup. Ct. 2013) [Learn]
Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)
NO INTRO OR CONCLUSION Paragrapawzhs !!! must be evidence and analysis only