Proposed measure would let voters decide on same-sex marriage

Posted at: 01/31/2013 6:21 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Proposed legislation that would let New Mexico voters decide if same-sex marriage should be legal in the state cleared its first committee hearing Thursday night at the State Capitol.

The House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee approved the bill by a 3-to-2 party-line vote with Democrats in the majority.
 
The legislation is a proposed amendment to the State Constitution. If the legislature approves it, voters would get the final say in next year's general election. If they say 'yes' to it, the state would not be able to deny a marriage license to a same-sex couple. The state would not be able to require any church to perform a same-sex marriage, and churches would not be forced to recognize the marriage for religious purposes.
 
Thursday evening's hearing brought people for and against gay marriage to the Capitol. Dozens waited in the hallway unable to get seats inside.
 
"I've been with my partner for 40 years,' said Tony Sanchez. "40 years in June. It would be nice to make it legal finally. All my life I've been hiiding and lying."
 
"It is the exact opposite of what marriage is intended to be," said Glen Strock. "Marriage as designed by our creator is intended to be between a man and a woman."
 
The bill has a rival - another proposed constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
 
The next committee to hear the bill will be House Voters and Elections. The hearing has not yet been scheduled.