The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights group, issued a statement today regarding a vote in New Mexico’s state Senate on the Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act, which would allow lesbian, gay, or straight couples to enter into domestic partnerships and receive rights, benefits, and responsibilities under state law. The Senate voted 25-17 against the legislation.
“This is obviously very disappointing news, and I share the sadness of everyone in New Mexico who hoped this vote would go differently and the state would take a step toward recognizing equality for all New Mexicans.” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Today’s vote helps no one in the state of New Mexico. It protects no one’s marriage. It grants dignity to no couple’s relationship. It does nothing to ensure that all families receive the equal rights and responsibilities they deserve. But no one is giving up. It has been a long, hard struggle for couples and families in New Mexico who simply want equal rights, and this effort continues, as it does across the nation.”
New Mexico’s legislature has considered similar legislation in each of the last two years, and the bill has, in the past, come within a single vote of passing.
The Human Rights Campaign has had a field director and a field organizer on the ground in New Mexico for more than a month working with the ACLU, Equality New Mexico, HRC members and other activists to organize grassroots support for the domestic partner bill. Another organizer has been in the field since August. Their work included organizing door to door canvassing and phone banks to voters urging them to contact their senators.
The bill would provide unmarried couples, lesbian, gay, or straight, with the right to enter into domestic partnerships and receive benefits and responsibilities under state law, including, but not limited to, hospital visitation, the right to make a medical decision for an incapacitated partner, the right to file a joint state tax return, and inheritance in the event that a partner dies without leaving a will.
Five other states – California, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, and Vermont – as well as the District of Columbia have enacted domestic partner or civil unions laws.
Two states, Massachusetts and Connecticut, recognize marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples under state law. Three states, Hawaii, Maine, and Washington, provide limited rights to gay and lesbian couples who enter into a domestic partnership or similar relationship. New York recognizes marriages legally entered into by gay or lesbian couples in other jurisdictions.
Lesbian and gay couples do not receive federal rights, benefits or responsibilities in any state. To learn more about state by state legislation visit: www.hrc.org/state_laws.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
Senators voting no on Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act (unofficial count):
Martinez, R. (D)
Sanchez, B. (D)