Target: New Mexico State Senator William Sharer (R)
Goal: Denounce the efforts of New Mexico Republicans against marriage equality
Led by state Senator William Sharer, New Mexico Republicans have launched a campaign against marriage equality by claiming that gay people possess more political power than women and therefore don’t deserve extra governmental protections. Although eight counties are currently issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples—many of which are court ordered—Republican state lawmakers continue their fight against marriage equality in the state courts. This continued effort to keep members of the gay community second-class citizens must be castigated.
In a recent brief released on the behalf of Republican legislators by the anti-gay Alliance Defending Freedom, the lawmakers proffered the overused argument that gay couples cannot reproduce and thus cannot be treated the same as heterosexual couples. The brief elides the fact that same-sex couples do raise children. Furthermore, the lawmakers posit that gay couples should not be regarded as what New Mexico designates a “sensitive” class, which would mean that members of the gay community would receive more protection under the state Constitution. Gay couples, the lawmakers contend, have too much political power, even more political agency than women have. Women comprise about half of the population, while those who identify as gay comprise less than four percent of the population. The disproportionate level of political success and clout achieved by the gay community especially on the issue of marriage is alarming, the lawmakers believe, and must be halted.
The brief points to the support of President Obama and the Democratic Party for marriage equality as well as the other marriage equality victories in state legislatures as proof of the political agency of members of the gay community. Essentially, these lawmakers argue that because the gay community has found many allies with politically powerful individuals and groups, they do not need protection under the law. Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives proffered a similar argument when they defended the Defense of Marriage Act at the U.S. Supreme Court. Laws have been passed at the state and federal level aimed at protecting women against discrimination, which renders the argument made by New Mexico lawmakers moot.
The size of a group should have no influence on the legitimacy of its claim to equality. In fact, the smaller size of a group’s population should warrant that group much higher protection under the law. As thirty-eight states have bans on same-sex relationships, the claim that same-sex couples are politically powerful and not vulnerable to oppression is fallacious. Please sign this petition to condemn New Mexico lawmakers for its continued attack on equal rights for the gay community.
Dear New Mexico State Senator William Sharer,
We condemn your continued efforts against marriage equality by claiming that gay people possess more political power than women. Your claims do not reflect reality, as women are protected against discrimination under both federal and state statutes.
Eight counties in New Mexico are already issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, many of which were court-ordered. You claim that same-sex couples cannot be treated the same as heterosexual couples because they cannot procreate. However, you ignore the fact that many gay couples raise children. We condemn your continued efforts to keep members of the gay community as second-class citizens based on sophistry.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: loupiote (Old Skool) pro via Flickr