The Democrats on the panel voted to pass the legislation while Republicans opposed it.
Supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage packed the small committee room to advocate their position on same-sex marriage — with more supporters than opponents.
Opponents of the joint resolution said that such a passage would hurt the very fabric of society and could have unintended effects on the state’s budget situation. Proponents of the joint resolution said it was a case of basic fairness.
Rep. Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, introduced the joint resolution that would place same-sex marriage into the constitution of the state, saying, “marriage needs to be applied equally and fairly in New Mexico.”
“We have strong, committed, loving families headed by couples that are both of the same sex,” Egolf said. “It is time that we in New Mexico, like other states in the country, recognize that these families are part of the fabric of the state of New Mexico.”
“I don’t think this is the right time, especially in New Mexico, for something like this,” Rep. Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho, said.
Harper also said that he appreciated the religious exemption that Egolf introduced, but wondered about those who had personal objections to same-sex marriage.
Rep. Thomas Anderson, R-Albuquerque, said that even if this were to pass, it wouldn’t change the fundamental truth of marriage
“In a court of law, reasonable people can decide that a horse is a duck. It doesn’t change the nature — a horse can’t fly,” Anderson said. “And I’d hate to try to ride a duck very far.”
Patricia Roybal Caballero, D-Albuquerque, said it was an issue of basic fairness.
“It’s equal under the law of the law land, but it’s also equal under natural law,” Roybal Caballero said.
The passage from the committee was just the first hurdle — the bill must pass
another House committee the House Voters and Elections and House Judiciary Committees, the House floor and then navigate the Senate.
This could be hard, as domestic partnership was unable to pass the legislature, even with a governor that supported it.
Gov. Bill Richardson was supportive of domestic partnerships but his pushes to legalized domestic partnerships — including those for same-sex couples — never were able to clear the Senate. In 2010, the last year of Richardson’s time as governor, the bill died in the Senate Finance Committee after it was controversially sent to that committee that deals with bills relating to finances and appropriations. The previous year, it failed on the Senate floor.