Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Governor Wants Consensus On Domestic Partnership Bill

Governor Bill Richardson says he won't put a domestic partnership measure on his special session call unless there is consensus between the Catholic Church and gay activists.

Listen to the governor's comments here:

This morning, Trip Jennings, at the New Mexico Independent, reported the governor wants to make sure there is a clear definition of domestic partnerships before moving forward.

We still don't understand why the Catholic Church needs to be consulted in a legal matter. But they have been flexing their muscle on this issue.

America's constitution is fairly clear on two points here.

First, there is a separation of church and state. Second, there should be no discrimination against any class of people, especially in 2009. Clearly the state does not recognize "church" weddings. Heterosexual couples must get a marriage license.

For extended coverage on the civil rights for the GLBT community read Barbara Wold's blog Democracy for New Mexico here. But, first listen to comments from Senate Majority leader Michael Sanchez.

He told us this morning that he doesn't believe any domestic partnership bills will be included in a "likely" special session this year, but he's optimistic that it can be passed next year, despite a resounding defeat this year.

Sen. Sanchez also told us he'd consider carrying the measure forward.

The majority, leader also told us webcasting on NM Senate proceedings is fine, "its got its time and its place." He predicts viewers will have a better [camera] angle next year where only one camera was placed at the back of the chamber.

In the audio above, Sen. Sanchez also told us if he decides to run for state office (he has told us before today that he has an interest in challenging Lt. Governor Diane Denish for the governor's job in 2010)he'll consider honoring political contribution limits before the 2011 start date.

We asked Sen. Sanchez if there needs to more ethics reform and transparency in the legislature before health care reform can be passed.

"We took some steps to make people understand that we are opening up our conference committee. There is more transparency. The campaign contribution limit is there, and I think it's good."

Sanchez also says it took him a few days after the grueling 60-day session to rejuvenate, but he's back on the job practicing law in Belen and Los Lunas.

Photo Credit: MG Bralley

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barbwire said...

I also don't understand why the Catholic Church is in on writing legislation. But since the Church is apparently "negotiating" with unknown individuals who are supposedly representing my interests as a gay woman in the process, why aren't other churches and religious organizations that support GLBT rights included in the discussions?

Regarding Sen. Sanchez's comment that passage of a domestic partnership bill is mostly a matter of educating people about the facts about the bill, I hope he will be one of those who helps do just that by engaging his colleagues and others he knows to educate and advocate on the issue.

Dave said...

It is a mistake to say that the Constitution specifies "separation of church and state" without understanding what the document actually says and without knowing the intention of the people who wrote it.

Separation of church and state is a metaphor Thomas Jefferson used to explain one part of the First Amendment. It was not intended to illustrate the whole amendment. The University of Virginia has collected Jefferson's writings. In the section where Jefferson explains the need for the First Amendment you can find the phrase "freedom of religion" six times, but you will not find the phrase "separation of church and state" even once. (

So keep the argument to the more logical concepts brought up by both sides. The Constitution does not prohibit people from using their personal morality to make decisions. How else would they make many of the decisions we are faced with?