A Republican Senator who has in many ways become the face of the opposition to same-sex marriage in the state says he intends to introduce a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in the state.
Sen. Bill Sharer, R-Farmington, said that he intended to introduce such an amendment today but will now rework it to address points made by the state Supreme Court in their ruling that said same-sex couples have the right to marry in New Mexico.
Sharer called the ruling “disappointing.”
Speaking of the amendment, Sharer said, “It needs to be written in such a way that the Supreme Court can’t jeopardize the will of the people. Clearly, we need to change our state constitution to define marriage.”
“Opponents to a state constitutional amendment fear the citizens of New Mexico and have denied the citizens of even having a voice in this great cultural debate of the say, in the debate over same-sex marriage,” Sharer said in a statement.
In the ruling, the court said that it does not matter whether a couple can procreate when they marry, an argument that Sharer has used before in opposing same-sex marriage in blog ” target=”_blank”>posts on his website.
Constitutional amendments do not have to be put on the call by the governor in a short 30-day session. Instead, if they pass each chamber, they will be put on the ballot and voters will decide whether or not to pass the amendment to the state constitution.
It would not have to go to the governor’s desk, although Gov. Susana Martinez has repeatedly expressed support for putting the question to voters, including after today’s state Supreme Court ruling.
This would not be the first time that Sharer will have introduced such legislation. In 2005 and each of the years from 2009 to 2011, Sharer introduced proposed constitutional amendments to define marriage as between one man and one woman. None cleared a committee.
In 2013, Sen. Pat Woods, R-Broadview, and Rep. Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell, introduced a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman. It was tabled in the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee. An amendment by Rep. Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, to do the opposite — to ask voters to put same-sex marriage in the state constitution — failed in the House Voters and Elections Committee.
Sharer urged opponents of same-sex marriage to “not despair.”
“Voters can change the State Supreme Court judges, they can change their State Legislators, and New Mexico voters could vote on a constitutional amendment defining marriage is between a man and a woman, as it has been since our culture was formed,” Sharer said.
Filed under: Courts, Featured, LGBT, Roundhouse · Tags: Bill Sharer, Brian Egolf, Constitutional amendment, Defense of Marriage Act, LGBT, Nora Espinoza, Pat Woods, same-sex marriage, State Supreme Court