Roman Catholic bishops in New Mexico
have united against a bill that would recognize gay and lesbian
couples with domestic partnerships.
“The opposition to the proposed
legislation is based on language that could serve as the foundation
for the court's approval of same-sex marriage,” the bishops said in
a statement released by the New
Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops (NMCCB).
Last year, the group waged war against
a similar measure that was defeated when ten Democratic senators
crossed the aisle to join all fifteen Republicans.
The bishops said that recognition of
gay unions would affect “levels of education and religious
freedom,” a similar position taken by leading anti-gay marriage
advocacy groups, including the National Organization for Marriage
(NOM), the nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage. NOM
has successfully used the argument that gay marriage laws hurt
children (by subjecting them to government mandated gay sex
instruction) to win repeal of gay marriage laws in Maine and
In its third outing, the bill faces a
steep incline to passage. Lawmakers in the Democrat-controlled
Senate have weighed down the bill with extra committee hearings
during a tight legislative session scheduled to end in two weeks.
Much like Washington State, the bloated
816-page bill seeks to grant nearly every right and obligation of
marriage to gay and lesbian couples. Lawmakers in Washington State,
however, gradually expanded on a minimal domestic partnership law
approved in 2007.
The bill has the support of New Mexico
Governor Bill Richardson, a Democrat.
In their statement, the bishops said
their position on the bill should not be interpreted as anti-gay.
“At the same time that the bishops
oppose the proposed legislation they make it clear that they are
against any unjust discrimination towards homosexual persons and
condemn emphatically hate crimes directed at anyone, including people
of same-sex orientation.”