New Mexico

Marriage equality bill clears first hurdle in New Mexico legislature


SANTA FE, N.M. — A proposed bill that would allow New Mexico voters decide if same-sex marriage should be legal in their state has cleared its first hurdle in the Legislature.

The House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee voted 3-2 on Thursday evening in favor of a constitutional amendment allowing same-sex couples to be married. The committee’s Republican members opposed the measure.

The proposal must clear two other committees before reaching the 70-member House for a vote. It also needs Senate approval before it could be placed on the 2014 general election ballot.

The bill includes a religious exemption that would allow churches to deny performing or recognizing same-sex unions.

The next committee to hear the bill will be House Voters and Elections. The hearing has not yet been scheduled.

The measure likely faces difficulty because the Legislature in the past has turned down proposals for domestic partnerships.

A rival bill also making its way through the state legislature seeks a proposed constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

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