CNJ STAFF WRITER
Several local Republican lawmakers plan to support a proposed constitutional amendment that could render marriage between gay and lesbian couples illegal.
State Sen. Bill Sharer, R-Farmington, plans to introduce a statewide constitutional amendment at the upcoming January legislative session that would define marriage as between a man and a woman.
The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled Dec. 19 that it is unconstitutional to deny a marriage license to gay and lesbian couples.
“Of course I was very disappointed that they ruled as they did,” said state Rep. Anna Crook, R-Clovis.
Crook said depending on the wording of Sharer’s amendment, which she has not yet seen, she will likely support it.
“My constituency is strongly opposed,” she said of same-sex marriage. “In fact, they had mentioned it at church that it’s just not something that is Biblical.”
State Sen. Pat Woods, R-Broadview, who represents Curry, Quay and Union counties, agrees with amending the state constitution. He said he believes residents should be able to cast a vote as to whether or not same-sex couples should be allowed to receive marriage licenses.
According to Woods, an attempt was made last year to amend the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman, but the issue failed to gain traction with other lawmakers.
“I just hope that we can talk enough people into supporting it this year,” he said. “Anything’s possible. We didn’t have any luck last year, but it’s more center burner this year.”
Woods said his personal belief is that marriage should be between one man and one woman.
State Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, who represents Chaves, Curry, De Baca, Lea and Roosevelt counties, echoed Woods’ and Crook’s sentiments, and said he will certainly support Sharer’s proposed amendment.
Three same-sex marriage licenses have been issued in Curry County since the Supreme Court decision earlier this month, according to the county clerk’s office.
According to newly appointed Roosevelt County Clerk DeAun Searl, zero same-sex marriage licenses have been issued in the county because none have been sought.
Donna Carpenter, previous Roosevelt County clerk, resigned after the Supreme Court decision based on her belief that God’s law supersedes all others.
During a special meeting to select a new clerk, Roosevelt County commissioners expressed hopes that one of the state’s legislators would propose a constitutional amendment in the upcoming legislative session to define marriage as between a man and a woman.