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Friday, March 16, 2007

(4 Updates) Waiting on the NM Domestic Partnership Act

UPDATE 2:30 PM: See news from EQNM in my later post. The bill's still alive!

UPDATE 3.17.07, Noon: The Domestic Partnership bill reportedly was debated in the House for three hours late last night but got nowhere as far as I can tell.

UPDATE 11:00 PM: Here's what Steve Terrell says: "Earlier tonight the Senate amended — and basically gutted — the domestic partners bill. Four Democrats — Tim Jennings (Roswell), John Arthur Smith (Deming), Lidio Rainaldi (Gallup) and Carlos Cisneros (Questa) joined the Senate Republicans to do this. Advocates of the bill said they were especially surprised at Cisneros’ vote. There’s an effort to get the House to reject the new version and send it back to the Senate. Not sure if they’ve got the votes to change it back."

Recall that Cisneros was also one of the Dems who voted to stop the impeachment bill from getting to the Senate Floor. I also wonder who wasn't there to vote. That's always a nice dodge too....

UPDATE 10:30 PM: Equality New Mexico resports: "HB603 in limbo ... amended by the Senate late this evening and is headed back to the House.  We're working hard to resolve the differences between the House and Senate versions." KOAT-TV news reported the bill had been "gutted," whatever that means. Sounds like the usual Democratic suspects in the NM Senate were bound and determined to stop any meaningful bill from getting through. More will be revealed and names will be named.
I've been anxiously waiting to hear if HB 603, New Mexico's Domestic Partnership Rights and Responsibilities Act, passes the Senate. Still no word. It was originally scheduled on the NM Senate agenda yesterday, then delayed until today. If it passes, Gov. Richardson has said he will sign it and history will be made in New Mexico.

As always in the last hours of a legislative session, there will be a crush of last minute votes on bills, frantic deal making and heated exchanges. Many important pieces of legislation will be abandoned and left to die, some due to neglect, others by design. A chosen few will be pushed through like magic as the hours count down to the end time. Our 2007 Session is over at Noon tomorrow, so push has come to shove.

I have a personal and emotional interest in the domestic partnership bill. My partner and I have been together going on 18 years, through thick and thin, through sickness and in health, through laughter and tears, through good times and bad, through problems and successes, through easy times and couples therapy. We have worked hard to create a strong, stable, statisfying, enduring relationship that is, after all, the family we nourish and celebrate. As we grow older -- with the accompanying health risks, growing financial challenges and knowledge that, day by day, we're reaching a time in our lives when things may change abruptly -- we're forced to think about the dreary realities that partnerships like ours face in our dealings with a legal system that doesn't recognize our union. With a democracy that hasn't yet seen fit to grant us full citizenship.

Eric Griego, in his latest column for the Albuquerque Tribune, communicates the human side of situations like ours (and his uncle's) as well as anyone has in this community of late. Read it and consider emailing a copy to your State Senator (and your friends and colleagues). We can only hope New Mexico's Senators will understand what is really at stake when and if they get to vote on the bill between now and Noon on Saturday. Families and futures are in the balance. They hold such power in their votes.

March 16, 2007 at 04:57 PM in Civil Liberties, GLBT Rights, NM Legislature 2007 | Permalink


I read Eric Griego's column earlier today. It was a wonderful tribute to his uncle as well as a thoughtful piece about how important this legislative bill really is.
Yours is equally as eloquent.
Thank you for all that you do... for all of us.

Posted by: | Mar 16, 2007 5:47:40 PM

What's up with Cisneros? He used to be quite liberal. A shame this bill didn't pass. We need to put the pressure on these Democrats who vote against the platform. I can forgive people like Smith and Jennings because they represent very conservative districts. But Cisneros?

Posted by: Old Dem | Mar 17, 2007 1:33:46 PM

Natalie: Thanks for the kind words...

Posted by: barb | Mar 17, 2007 2:44:15 PM

Yes, what is going on with Cisneros? He has some splainin' to do.

Posted by: DN Palacios | Mar 18, 2007 3:38:15 AM

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