Effort to add same-sex amendment to state constitution getting little support

Posted at: 01/09/2014 6:40 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It’s like Gettysburg and the other guys have the high ground and a lot more cannons.

Opponents of same-sex marriage in New Mexico face an uphill struggle with their drive to get a constitutional amendment that limits marriage to one man and one woman. That doesn’t mean there won’t be a charge with fixed bayonets, but the odds are against them.

A new TV ad featuring a traditional-looking Hispanic family is on the airwaves, promoting same-sex marriage rights. It says nothing about calling your lawmaker and telling him or her to vote no on the constitutional amendment, but the message is clear.

“In New Mexico, we respect everybody,” the paterfamilias says in a voiceover. “Gay and lesbian people want the same freedom the rest of us have here in New Mexico and I’m all for that.”

Gov. Susana Martinez, who opposes same-sex marriage said earlier this week that it’s now “the law of the land” following the state Supreme Court ruling December 19. Some of her fellow Republicans will go ahead and fight in the upcoming legislative session for a constitutional amendment that would give voters the final say.

“This is the way it should be,” said Rep. Nora Espinoza, a Roswell Republican. “Why hold it up in committee, why kill it in committee? If they’re so sure that this is what the citizens of the state of New Mexico want, let it go through, let them vote for it, and let’s put it to rest.”

But our informal check with veteran lawmakers and legislative leaders shows there’s not much appetite for this issue in the thirty day session that starts January 21 – even among some lawmakers who oppose same-sex marriage. Unless the amendment-backers get some traction they won’t get far with their charge – bayonets or no bayonets.