THE BLOG

The Return of Prop 8: Here's What Anti-Gay Groups Are Plotting Next in Utah and New Mexico

12/31/2013 11:28 am ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016
  • Matt Baume Writer, photographer, explainer of the strange and wonderful

The country won two major victories for marriage equality last month in Utah and New Mexico, but don't celebrate yet: Anti-gay groups could still find a way to undo that progress.

In New Mexico, anti-equality activists are talking about enacting a constitutional ban on marriage. That closely mirrors the strategy in California back in 2008: After winning the freedom to marry, LGBT couples saw that right taken away by Proposition 8.

Of course, the legal landscape has changed significantly since then, and anti-gay groups in California had been working on similar measure for about a decade. It's hard to predict how a constitutional amendment campaign would go in New Mexico, and that volatility is a huge concern for both sides.

In Utah, state officials are scrambling to undo a marriage equality ruling even as hundreds of couples wed. For now, focus appears to be on getting an emergency stay to stop the weddings. So far, those attempts have been denied, but the U.S. Supreme Court could still step in. And the state will almost certainly appeal the ruling itself, which means many more months (or years) of litigation. But unlike with Prop 8 in California, for now it appears that couples can wed while the appeals progress.

In addition, there's progress with lawsuits in a slew of other states: Ohio, Arkansas, Oregon and Illinois, among others. Utah and New Mexico could soon have plenty more company on the list of states with the freedom to marry.