New Mexico Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage Cites Political Scientist Rick Valelly '75

by Zach Epstein
Rick Valelly
Rick Valelly '75, the Claude C. Smith Professor of Political Science

The New Mexico Supreme Court, which recently ruled that the state must allow same-sex marriages, cited work by Claude C. Smith '14 Professor of Political Science Rick Valelly '75 in its decision.

"The political advocacy of the LGBT community continues to be seriously hindered, as evidenced by the uncontroverted difficulty in determining whether LGBTs are under-represented in positions of political power, because many of them keep their sexual orientation private to avoid hostility, discrimination, and ongoing acts of violence," states the Court's opinion, citing Valelly's article entitled "LGBT Politics and American Political Development," which was published in the Annual Review of Political Science in 2012.

"LGBT citizens and their straight allies have initiated far-reaching changes in public policy, regulation of the workplace, and the institution of marriage," Valelly concludes in his article. "American politics has thus been developed by LGBT politics-and in the process, a fruitful research agenda has emerged."

With this decision, New Mexico becomes the 17th state, plus the District of Columbia, to legalize same-sex marriage in the United States.

Rick Valelly '75 is the Claude C. Smith Professor of Political Science at Swarthmore College. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1984 and is an expert on American party politics, election law, voting rights, and the institutional development of the House and the Senate. He has been a research scholar at Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research, the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at the Woodrow School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books including the award-winning The Two Reconstructions: The Struggle for Black Enfranchisement (2004) and American Politics: A Very Short Introduction, published earlier this year.