The House Consumer and Public Affairs voted Tuesday 3-2 to table a joint resolution to allow voters to decide whether to amend Article 20 of the state’s constitution to define marriage as “the union of one man and one woman.”
Rep. Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell, a sponsor of House Joint Resolution 4, said that more than 30 other states have passed similar legislation.
“It would seem New Mexico voters should be given the right to define marriage for themselves,” she said.
Sen. William Sharer, R-Farmington, also presented the bill and said marriage has always been about men and women “getting together, making babies.”
“Men and women make babies, society needs babies and babies need moms and dads,” he said. “America’s greatness has come from traditional family values and that is important to its continued greatness.
“I support traditional marriage, not from bigotry or hatred, but for love of my children and the nation.”
He said the resolution would not change any laws in place, but act as a qualifier as to who could marry.
Committee member Rep. Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho, voted against tabling and said that since the committee had put through a resolution by Rep. Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, which would allow voters to decide whether to amend Article 20 to allow same-sex marriage, it would have been fair to do the same for HJR 4.
Committee member Rep. Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque, who voted to table the resolution, expressed her reservation about putting any civil rights questions on the ballot because “it’s not something people should be voting on.”
“We have a representative democracy,” she said.