Gay marriage draws political lines

By Paula Cronic: PNT Staff Writer

Cynthia Diaz of Portales doesn’t understand why same-sex marriages are an issue.

“I just don’t think that there should be any reason why they can’t get married,” she said. “I mean they’re not hurting anybody.”

Diaz said she has homosexual friends and of those she said many would like to have the chance to marry or just a chance to have that right, like heterosexual couples do.

“That’s just how they feel,” she said. “They have feelings too.”

The Senate voted down an amendment last week that would ban same-sex marriages.

“There are a lot of reasons why I think some conservatives put forth the idea that the majority of people are against (gay marriages), but this is twice now they have voted in the Senate and they don’t have the numbers,” said Michael Donaghe, assistant professor of English at Eastern New Mexico University.

The bill, which was rejected for the first time in 2004, only gained one additional vote in favor of banning same-sex marriages with 49 senators voting against the bill and 48 in favor of it, 11 votes short of the majority needed.

“It doesn’t sound like a big number but when it’s a matter of getting 11 senators to change their votes, that could be a pretty big task to accomplish,” he said.

Two people against gay marriages cited religious reasons.

“I hope that the bill eventually gets passed because I don’t think it should be legal anywhere,” said Timothy Segura of Portales. “I just believe it’s wrong. It’s a religious thing for me.”

Segura said he’s glad President Bush stands up for the institution of marriage between a man and a woman.

Ashley Henneke of Portales is somewhat undecided on the issue but tends to base her beliefs according to her religious views.

“In the Catholic religion, marriage is between a man and a woman and that is the way I feel,” Henneke said.

She said because religious people view marriage as something sacred between a man and a woman, she thinks a civil union keeps the religious aspect out of the issue.

ENMU Board of Regents member Marshall Stinnett also thinks civil unions are the key to this issue.

“In practical politics you’re going to have to leave marriage between a man and a woman,” Stinnett said. “If you go to a civil union it ceases to be a religious thing and becomes legal, in my opinion,” Stinnett said.

For now the ban remains a statewide issue, with only the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recognizing same-sex marriages. Six other states and the District of Columbia give same-sex couples a status through civil marriages by civil unions, domestic partnership, or reciprocal beneficiary laws.