Someone get Steve Pearce a dictionary.
The House representative and New Mexico gubernatorial candidate claimed legalizing same-sex unions leads to “polymorphism” in a 2008 video unearthed by The Huffington Post this week. Addressing a crowd in the small town of Carrizozo, the Republican claimed “redefining” marriage would result in “serious downstream effects.”
“Where this all gets headed is toward the access to benefits, and so you can imagine that a person would say, ‘Oh, all these people in California don’t have access to AIDS treatments,” Pearce said at the time. “They might say this to themselves: ‘I’m gonna marry everybody in California with AIDS,’ and suddenly they’ve got access to the, maybe the benefit program, the health insurance that a single person has.”
“I’d rather not have the government telling [same-sex couples] how to live their life, and I’d also not let them redefine the terms for all of society,” he added.
But Pearce, who allegedly has a Master’s Degree from Eastern New Mexico University, appears confused on what “polymorphism” means. He defines the term for the audience as a situation in which “one marries many,” but the word he’s searching for is “group marriage.”
For the record, “polyamory” denotes relationships involving more than two partners, but doesn’t necessarily mean they’re in a legally recognized relationship (which is currently outlawed in the U.S.).
Polymorphism, however, means that an object has the ability to take on many forms. For instance, water has the ability to become gas or ice. The Republican Congressman may become the next governor of New Mexico in the 2018 general election or he may finish the race unemployed.
This isn’t the first time Pearce’s gaffes have raised eyebrows. During a 2004 Congressional debate against Democrat Gary King, he claimed, “same-sex marriages do not advance our culture at all.”
“Nature is the one that describes marriage as between a man and a woman, designed to support a family,” the conservative said at the time.
Pearce also offered relationship advice in his 2013 memoir.
“The wife is to voluntarily submit, just as the husband is to lovingly lead and sacrifice,” he wrote in the aptly titled Just Fly the Plane, Stupid. “The husband’s part is to show up during the times of deep stress, take the leadership role, and be accountable for the outcome, blaming no one else.”
When asked about Pearce’s colorful and factually inaccurate use of the English language, his spokesperson blamed the media for reporting the Republican’s remarks.
“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,” claimed Pearce campaign manager Paul Smith in a statement to HuffPost.
Grisham, one of three candidates running in the state’s Democratic primaries, has faced scrutiny after a staffer said she was fired for being trans. The Congresswoman claims she wasn’t aware of her gender identity.
The Democrat recently filed a restraining order against the accuser, Riley Del Rey.
But as to whether Pearce’s opinions on same-sex marriage have changed since he predicted serodiscordant group marriages, he would like to clarify they have not.
“Congressman Pearce believes the government should not be involved in redefining marriage,” Keeley Christensen, a spokesperson for his campaign, told the news website. “He personally believes marriage is between a man and a woman. The issue, however, is settled law.”
In the three years since the Supreme Court legalized marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges, there have been no recorded cases of giant groups of people holding illegal weddings to defraud insurance companies.
Pearce is currently running unopposed in the GOP primary race.
Photo via Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call