For several years now the LGBT project has been working to pass a comprehensive domestic partnership bill in New Mexico. The bill would provide both gay and straight couples (like the New Mexicans in these videos) with all of the legal benefits the state provides to married couples, including health care benefits, medical decision-making, adoption rights and protections upon death of a partner. While we’ve come very close, we’ve always come up short at the end of the day.
But with your help, this could be the year. The trouble has always been in the state Senate, and so far this year has been no different. The bill has been stalled in a Senate judiciary committee, stuck in a 5 to 5 tie on whether to let the bill go to a vote before the full Senate. Suspecting that the people of New Mexico were actually more supportive of the bill than lawmakers were claiming, the ACLU commissioned polls in the districts of two of the opposing Senators. Turns out we were right. There was broad support for the comprehensive legal protections for same-sex couples in both districts. In one district, 61 percent of the respondents favored the protections, and in the other, 63 percent favored the protections. This was the leverage we needed to get one of the two Senators to let the bill pass out of committee. Now we face the full Senate.
The bill is expected to come to a vote early next week. We need all the help we can muster to persuade Senators throughout the state to support the bill. If you live in New Mexico, please take just a few minutes to call your Senator and urge him or her to support Senate Bill 12. If you have friends and family members in New Mexico, please encourage them to do so. When speaking to friends, family and elected officials, remind them that domestic partnership laws are about allowing couples who love each other to take care of each other. Contact information for state senators is available at http://legis.state.nm.us/lcs/legislatorsearch.aspx.