According to an article in the Santa Fe/New Mexican, the vote was probably the result of pressure from the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, which had been coming out against the bill. The senators who voted ‘no’ feared that it would have opened the doors for the greater evil of same-sex marriage.
Now let’s see. About 45% of New Mexico’s population is Hispanic, which means they’re also Catholic. The Catholic Church and its bishops and clergy have a huge influence on their flock of believers; they promote the notion that homosexuality is “against the bible” and “against God”, a “perversion” and “sin”. So, it’s hard to keep politics separate from religion here — elected officials bow to peer pressure for fear of losing their next election. No matter how unbelievably idiotic it is to forbid two adults to enter into a legal contract where they voluntarily commit themselves to spend the rest of their lives together and be faithful to each other — to forbid them to do so, simply on the basis of their gender. That the Catholic Church or any other religious institution should have any influence whatsoever on a legal agreement between two people is quite preposterous.
Maybe New Mexico’s Hispanics should take a look at Spain, the land of their ancestors. Same-sex marriage was legalized there in 2005, against strong opposition from Roman Catholic authorities. Spain became the third nation in the world to allow same-sex marriage, after the Netherlands (2001) and Belgium (2003) (Canada, South Africa, and Norway have followed since). It’s a safe bet to say that in ten years most countries will have passed similar laws, but in the meantime many innocent people have to suffer discrimination because of bigotry, hypocrisy, and religious delusion.