One state legislator believes same-sex marriages should be outlawed to prevent “dadlessness” in the state.
New Mexico Sen. William Sharer, R-Farmington, said same-sex marriages take away the father figure that is present in a heterosexual marriage, which leads to social problems.
“The root of all problems in society is what I call ‘dadlessness,’” he said. “Marriage has been a way to put a dad in the family. A dad is more than a biological father.”
During this year’s legislative session, Sharer is sponsoring Senate Joint Resolution 6, a proposed amendment to New Mexico’s constitution that would say, “marriage, which is a right, in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.”
SJR 6 also aims to let New Mexicans vote on the legality of same-sex marriage in the next general or special election.
Sharer is co-sponsoring the bill with state Rep. Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell, and pre-filed the joint resolution on Dec. 20 last year.
The joint resolution arose after the state Supreme Court on Dec.
19 ruled unanimously that the government “is constitutionally required to allow same-gender couples to marry and must extend to them the rights, protections and responsibilities that derive from civil marriage under New Mexico law.” New Mexico then became the 17th state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.
Sharer said the ruling was unjust.
“Are we a government by the people for the people, or are we a government by the courts for the courts?” he said. “I am surprised by a lot of issues. Marriage between a man and a woman is not a new idea … Marriage is a lot more than inheritance and financial consideration.”
Sharer said he will strive to pass the resolution so that the state can “start to recover from our problems.” He claimed that most inmates in the state are “dadless,” but was unable to cite a direct source when questioned by the Daily Lobo.
“We can save a lot of money spent on prisons and save that for education,” Sharer said. “We can save a lot of money spent on welfare and Medicaid and save that for education. That funding wouldn’t be necessary if you have a dad in your life.”
However, Alma Rosa Silva-Banuelos, coordinator of UNM’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Resource Center, said Sharer’s legislation does not make sense.
“All of this, at this point, is opinion because the Supreme Court has already ruled in this matter,” she said. “The Supreme Court has ruled unanimously on same-gender marriage and, ultimately, marriage equality.”
Silva-Banuelos added that same-sex marriage should benefit the state economy.
“Now that we have same-gender people getting married, that means many of the industries that surround marriage will see an increase in their economy,” she said. “This is a good thing for New Mexico not only in the name of equality, but also in economic improvement.”
Instead of pushing for discriminative legislation, legislators should focus on creating state programs that encourage the development of stronger families in the state, Silva-Banuelos said. She said her organization, along with other LGBT-supportive organizations in New Mexico, will strive to counter SJR 6 during the legislative session.
“I think the most important thing about marriages is love, commitment and family,” she said. “I think you can define your family in many, many ways. There’s many single families that are heterosexual and don’t have father figures. But that is not an issue of marriage — that is an issue of divorce, of how people choose to build their families.”
Still, Sharer insists that SJR 6 is not homophobic.
“This is not an anti-gay legislation,” he said. “Love who you want to love. Live how you want to live. I don’t care. Marriage is not about that … Societal problems are caused by ‘dadlessness,’ not same-sex parents.”
Although this year’s 30-day legislation will focus mainly on budgetary issues, Sharer said SJR 6 will surely be discussed because constitutional amendments are always put on the floor.
Sharer said he is unsure of whether SJR 6 will pass. He said he urges UNM students to support his joint resolution.
“Dads are important,” he said. “Nature has already defined what we need in our life; there’s a reason why nature put it that way. If we don’t follow it, we’re going to pay the price.”