After the dramatic February defeat of a
proposed domestic partnership bill, a New Mexico senator is
sponsoring a bill that would ban gay marriage in the state, the New
Mexico Independent reported.
Senator William Sharer, a Republican
from Farmington, has pre-filed legislation that would define marriage
as a heterosexual union in the New Mexico Constitution.
The bill proposes adding the following
text to the constitution: “Marriage in this state shall consist
only of the union of one man and one woman.” Voter approval is
needed to alter the state's constitution.
Similar attempts in the last two
sessions of the Legislature have died in committee.
In previous legislative sessions, the
New Mexico House has approved bills recognizing gay and lesbian
unions as domestic partnerships, but the more conservative Senate
rejected the measures. In this year's session, the bill failed by
Governor Bill Richardson has already
announced he will support a domestic partnership bill in January.
While a gay marriage ban would not
explicitly prohibit recognition of gay unions as domestic
partnerships, it would have a chilling effect on the movement.
In 2008, voters in three states –
California, Florida and Arizona – approved constitutional
amendments banning gay marriage.