Espinoza seeks statewide vote to define marriage as man/woman

January 27, 2011 • Local News

A Roswell state House lawmaker is continuing her fight to define marriage in the state constitution as the union of one man and one woman. Rep. Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell, again introduced a joint House [auth] resolution that seeks to put the issue on a ballot for voters to decide. It’s at least the second time the local lawmaker introduced the resolution.

“I think this is the time that we need to put this to rest,” Espinoza said. “The people of this great state need to vote. They need to vote and their voices need to be heard.” The resolution requires both houses to approve it by a two-thirds vote.

If successful, the proposal would amend a section of the New Mexico constitution to read, “Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.” Espinoza says she decided to introduce the resolution after receiving inquiries from her supporters.

“I have received several calls from constituents wanting this and hopefully now, with having more Republicans in the House, we’ll get this through,” she said. In the past, the resolution failed to make it out of committee and was met with opposition by New Mexico lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organizations.

“We see no reason why New Mexico would want to legalize discrimination against a group of people,” said Todd McElroy, president of Equality New Mexico. “I think that one of the things that proponents of this kind of measure want to talk about is that they want to spread this misinformation that somehow the institution of marriage will be negatively impacted because same-sex couples are able to share that same benefit, which is erroneous,” he said.

Under former Gov. Bill Richardson, there was a push by some state lawmakers to introduce legislation that would establish domestic partnerships. Members of Equality New Mexico say they will likely be on the defense this session to ensure measures such as Espinoza’s are met with resistance, McElroy said.

Gov. Susana Martinez doesn’t support domestic partnerships and a spokesman with her office said the new governor would sign legislation that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Espinoza said she expected to be met with some opposition, but plans to continue to push for the constitutional amendment.

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