A piece of legislation that would allow voters to decide whether or not to add a constitutional amendment supporting same-sex marriage was tabled in the House Voters and Elections Committee, despite support from the most powerful member of the House.
Speaker Ken Martinez, D-Grants, voted for the joint resolution and told the crowd that he believed that gay marriage was already legally allowed under the state constitution.
It wasn’t enough, as the committee voted 7-4 to table the amendment.
All members of the Republican Party in the committee voted against passing the joint resolution onto the floor. They were joined by Reps. Mary Helen Garcia, D-Las Cruces, and Debbie Rodella, D-Española.
There was an hour of impassioned speech from both supporters and opponents; much of it echoed the thoughts in the previous hearing on the legislation or on a joint resolution that would have done the exact opposite — asked voters to put language in the state constitution saying same-sex marriage was illegal.
If Egolf’s joint resolution had passed both the House and Senate, it would have went to the voters to decide whether or not to add it to the state constitution.
Not even all supporters of same-sex marriage agreed fully with Egolf’s push.
We applaud Rep Egolf’s support of marriage, but we did not agree that a fundamental freedom should be up for a popular vote. #nmleg
— All Families Matter(@AFMNM) February 21, 2013
The tabling of the bill means it is dead for this year, but similar proposals will likely come in future sessions.
Democratic Party of New Mexico chairman Javier Gonzales issued a statement on the bill’s failure.
“I share in the sadness and disappointment of many New Mexicans today who firmly believe our gay and lesbian New Mexicans were denied an opportunity to seek full and un-restricted marriage rights for themselves and their families. Despite hearing passionate testimony from many witnesses, bill sponsors, committee members and especially House Speaker Kenny Martinez, HJR3 was tabled on a 7 to 4 vote.”
“The Democratic Party of New Mexico has long advocated for full marriage equality in New Mexico and will remain steadfast in our belief as we move forward and we fervently hope our elected officials recognize the struggle for equality is at a cross-roads in America and New Mexico has chosen the wrong path.
“HJR3 was about respect and recognition of same-sex couples.”