A New Mexico House Committee on
Thursday approved a resolution which would let the voters decide
whether gay marriage should be legal in the state.
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Brian
Egolf, a Democrat from Santa Fe, cleared the Consumer and Public
Affairs Committee on a 3-2 vote. The proposal must clear two
additional panels before reaching the full House.
House Joint Resolution 3 states: “The
issuance of a marriage license shall not be denied on the basis that
the sex of both applicants is the same. No church or religious
institution shall be required to perform a marriage ceremony or
recognize a marriage for religious purposes that conflicts with the
church's or religious institution's beliefs.”
The measure faces a steep climb in the
Democrat-controlled Legislature. Previous legislative efforts have
focused on recognizing gay and lesbian couples with domestic
Republican Governor Susana Martinez has
called such legislation “unnecessary and ill-advised.”
“[M]ost of the rights can be attained
through contracts and by power of attorney,” she said.
New Mexico voters have yet to weigh in
on the issue of marriage equality. According
to a 2011 Public Policy Polling survey, a plurality of voters
(45%) in the state say gay nuptials should be legal, and a majority
(67%) back either marriage or civil unions for gay couples.