Sen. Woods’ gay marriage view challenged in letter

Anne Jezek wants to know how two people loving each other affects Republican state Sen. Pat Woods, who has introduced legislation defining marriage as being between one man and one woman.

Jezek joined ENMU Gay Straight Alliance president and student Robert Johnston Thursday in drafting a letter to Woods.

As an advocate and ally of the gay community, Jezek wrote an impassioned letter to Woods on Facebook, making it clear she's one member of this community who does not believe how he does.

"Everyone should have equal rights," said Jezek, an English instructor at Eastern New Mexico University. "It doesn't matter who you love, it doesn't matter what your skin color is, everyone should be treated the same."

Woods said he knew he'd get a response from those who disagreed with him, but he still plans to stick by his beliefs.

"I try my best where I can and as often as I can to vote what my constituents want me to vote, I think that's what you're supposed to do," Woods said. "But I was elected on certain core beliefs and I just have to stick with them. It may kill me but those are my core beliefs."

Jezek disagrees.

"He needs to realize times are a changing my friend," Jezek said.

Johnson offered another take on the issue.

"Those in the U.S. who have historically wanted to extend liberty to all citizens have been on the right side of history," Johnston added. "And those who seek to limit liberty have been on the wrong side."

Johnston, who has plans to study law after graduating from ENMU, says the idea that Woods has the authority to impose his morals on all of New Mexico is repugnant and unjust.

"We have to realize we're in a diverse state with diverse faiths, diverse ethnic backgrounds and diverse upbringings and to impose one set of rules on a diverse population is unethical," Johnston said.

The House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee voted 3-2 on Thursday 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 to reach the 70-member House for a vote. It also needs Senate approval before it could be placed on the 2014 general election ballot.

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

Former Attorney General Patricia Madrid issued an advisory letter in 2004, saying state law limits marriage to a man and a woman and that county clerks shouldn't issue licenses to same-sex couples.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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