Coalition forms to protect gay marriage in N.M.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Former Gov. Gary Johnson, Democratic U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, the American Civil Liberties Union and others are launching a new campaign Thursday to protect gay marriage in New Mexico.

Backers say the NM Unites for Marriage Campaign is being formed to build support for the freedom to marry. If necessary, it will also work to defend against any legislative attempts to deny or strip away that freedom.

Eight counties have started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples since late August, and the state Supreme Court is considering a lawsuit that could determine whether gay marriage is legal statewide.

The new campaign is being announced at 12:30 Thursday at Civic Plaza in Albuquerque.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)