GOP Lawmaker Won’t Support Amendment Banning Gay Marriage - Cibola Beacon: Legislation 2014

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GOP Lawmaker Won’t Support Amendment Banning Gay Marriage

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Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 10:41 am

Although same-sex marriage is one issue in which Republican politicians in New Mexico generally are against, at least one GOP lawmaker said last week that he would vote against a Republican-sponsored proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

"I'm happy with the Supreme Court's decision," Rep. Jim Smith, R-Sandia Park, told The New Mexican, referring to last month's high court ruling that banning same-sex couples from marrying violates the State constitution.

Smith said he doesn't believe the state constitution should be amended to deal with such matters. "I believe the Supreme Court interprets the constitution," he said.

That cuts both ways, Smith said. He noted that last year in the House Voters and Elections Committee, he made the motion to table a proposed constitutional amendment sponsored by Rep. Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, which would specifically allow same-sex marriage.

Smith said he'd vote against Senate Joint Resolution 6, sponsored by Sen. Bill Sharer, R-Farmington, if it makes it to the House. Sharer's proposed amendment would define marriage in the constitution as a union between one man and one woman.

Smith might not be alone in his caucus. Rep. Terry McMillan, R-Las Cruces, told a reporter Tuesday that he hasn't decided how he'd vote on Sharer's legislation if it gets to the House.

Many Roundhouse observers, including some Republicans who publicly support Sharer's effort, say privately they don't expect it to make it through the Senate.

Smith's lack of support for repealing same-sex marriage is just the latest sign that Republican opposition might be softening.

Earlier this month, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, who last year said she wanted voters to decide on the same-sex marriage issue, told reporters that she would not be pushing SJR 6 during this legislative session.

"I think what I said before was that ‘yes, the people should have decided on it,’ but the Supreme Court has decided," Martinez said at a news conference. "And it's now the law of the land."

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