In recently-rediscovered video, Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce said same-sex marriage would lead to polygamy and marriage solely to pay for health insurance for those who have AIDS.
American Bridge 21st Century PAC, which specializes in opposition research against Republican candidates, unearthed the video and provided it to HuffPost.
Pearce is the lone Republican running for governor in New Mexico.
The video was reportedly recorded in Carrizozo on Sept. 20, 2008. At the time, Pearce was running for U.S. Senate against Tom Udall.
“What’s going on with gay marriage is the redefining of a social institution and redefinition has serious downside results,” Pearce said in the video. “We don’t often talk about it in Washington, but one of the serious results is—and in Washington they already assume that gay marriage is a given, that it’s going to happen, that the courts will make it happen—the next step, then is polymorphism [sic], where one marries many.”
He continued to say this would lead to gay people marrying “everybody…in California with AIDS” so they would have access to health insurance.
The Pearce campaign said this showed desperation by the Democrats.
“National Democrats and partisan bloggers are desperately using a 10 year old video to cover up the fact that Michelle Lujan Grisham is discriminating against transgender people and is subject to a Congressional ethics complaint,” campaign spokesman Paul Smith said. “They are panicking because this race is tied.”
When asked by NM Political Report if Pearce still believes same-sex marriage will lead to polygamy, if he believes there has been marriage just to gain benefits and if Pearce supports overturning the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, Smith responded, “Nothing else to add on that HuffPo story.”
Democratic U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham is considered the favorite to win the party’s nomination in the three-way race for governor against fellow Democrats Jeff Apodaca and state Sen. Joseph Cervantes.
Lujan Grisham is facing an ethics complaint from a former intern who says she was discriminated against and fired because she is transgender. Riley Del Rey filed the ethics complaint in February.
Lujan Grisham’s congressional office said they didn’t know that Del Rey was transgender until after her internship ended. And even if they had known, her office said staffers would have not discriminated against her.
Adrian Carver, the executive director of the LGBTQ advocacy organation Equality NM, criticized Pearce’s statements and his stance on LGBTQ+ issues.
“Equality New Mexico (EQNM) strongly opposed Pierce’s extremely bigoted comments, they demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of public policy at best, and at worst they are proof that he’s willing to use outright lies and hateful, discriminatory language as political rhetoric,” Carver said. “We know that Steve Pearce has used his position in Congress to enact policy that has compromised the lives and safety of LGBTQ people, people of color, immigrants, and women.”
In 2017, Pearce voted in favor of a ban on health insurance coverage for transition-related healthcare for transgender troops.
A spokeswoman for Pearce’s congressional office told HuffPo the congressman “personally believes marriage is between a man and a woman.”