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Monday, January 03, 2011

Rumor: Susana Martinez Plans to Rescind Full Benefits for Domestic Partners of State Workers

With the inauguration of our new right-wing Republican governor, Susana Martinez on New Year's Day on the Santa Fe Plaza -- accompanied by rifle salutes, a cannon shot, fly-over helicopters and even some pro-immigrant protestors --- there's a lot of interest in her plans for the future of New Mexico. We all know by now that her agenda will be BOLD (like her inaugural, at least according to her PR contingent), but details are still lacking as to many particulars. Naturally, rumors and leaks are filling the void.

One of the more compelling (and nauseating) stories making the rounds during holiday get-togethers has to do with Governor Martinez's alleged plan to trash benefits for domestic partners of state workers. Former Gov. Bill Richardson issued an executive order granting health care benefits to workers' domestic partners in 2003, shortly after taking office. Later, in response to a successful lawsuit filed by the ACLU of New Mexico, the state agreed to offer health care coverage to the domestic partners of retired governmental and education workers.

Now several credible sources are passing along this story: It alleges that Susana Martinez was invited to have dinner recently with the Archbishop of Santa Fe. Apparently, this was carefully arranged with respective aides. But on the night of the dinner, Martinez supposedly didn't show up -- she sent Heather Wilson instead, who relayed apologies, saying that the Governor-Elect had a conflict. Apparently, the Archibishop was none too pleased with being stood up, especially after this had been carefully arranged. So, dinner was somewhat tense.

Heather allegedly then added news that she and Susana thought would greatly please the Archbishop: that Susana wanted him to know that one of her first actions as the new Governor will be to issue an executive order to rescind Richardson's order from early in his administration that established full benefits for domestic partners employed by the State.

This news reportedly did not have the desired effect. Instead, the Archbishop supposed responded by saying something to the effect of, "And what makes you and the new Governor believe that I would be pleased that she intends to remove health care benefits from anyone?"

Again, this is just a story that's making the rounds but, given Martinez's strong stand against any recognition of domestic partners during her campaign, it sure sounds like it could be true. At the very least, the LGBT community and everyone who cares about equal rights for all under civil law should be aware that this may be coming soon, and be prepared to respond. We can't let the meager rights we've obtained so far in New Mexico go down the tubes at the whim of any governor, Republican or not. Be forewarned.

January 3, 2011 at 02:49 PM in 2010 NM Governor's Race, Civil Liberties, GLBT Rights, Healthcare, Susana Martinez | Permalink


This is horrid. I am glad that the Archbishop of Santa Fe keeps human rights and conditions foremost on his mind. The Church may prefer marriage, but it is no longer cruel out of principle.

Posted by: qofdisks | Jan 3, 2011 5:10:13 PM

I also heard the first part of the story, the meeting, SM no show, Heather as stand in.

Perhaps it was a little over the top for Heather to deliver that message.
Even for the Archbishop.

Posted by: bg | Jan 3, 2011 5:44:27 PM

Good for the Archbishop!!

Posted by: Claudia Anderson | Jan 3, 2011 6:59:24 PM

Yes, good for the Archbishop and what a way to start off a Term for a new Govenor, a poke in the eye for SOME State Workers.

Posted by: VP | Jan 4, 2011 12:11:08 PM