Press

Task Force Action Fund denounces New Mexico Senate’s rejection of comprehensive domestic partnership bill

Date: 
February 21, 2008

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Communications Director
(Office) 646.358.1465
(Cell) 917.704.6358
rsklar@theTaskForce.org

“The ability to provide basic protections for a loved one — especially in times of illness or tragedy — is something every family deserves and it’s a disgrace that just a handful of senators could not open their minds or hearts to this basic tenet of humanity.” — Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund expressed deep disappointment in the New Mexico state Senate’s defeat of a comprehensive domestic partnership bill. The bill died after being tabled in the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 6-4 vote on Feb. 9.

“This session the New Mexico Senate showed callous disregard for thousands of families,” said Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman. “The ability to provide basic protections for a loved one — especially in times of illness or tragedy — is something every family deserves and it’s a disgrace that just a handful of senators could not open their minds or hearts to this basic tenet of humanity.”

The state House passed the bill Jan. 25 by a 33-31 vote. The legislation would have allowed unmarried same-sex and opposite-sex couples to register with the state as domestic partners and receive most, but not all, of the rights and responsibilities that come with marriage, such as the right to visit a sick partner in the hospital; the right to inherit a partner’s estate if he or she dies without a will; or the right to take sick leave to care for a domestic partner or a domestic partner’s child.

As part of a broad coalition of state and national organizations, the Task Force Action Fund teamed up with Equality New Mexico to implement a statewide field effort designed to sway legislators to support the bill. Last year, the measure failed in the state Senate by one vote and hopes for passage were high this year. Despite an aggressive grassroots effort by the LGBT community, the state Republican Party and right-wing church leaders mounted an intensive campaign to kill the bill. The December death of Senate President Pro-Tem Ben Altamirano, who was a proponent of the measure, was another blow.

“While this defeat is a disappointing setback for our community, our collaboration with the Task Force has significantly grown our grassroots capacity and left us even stronger to push for passage of the bill next year,” said Alexis Blizman, executive director of Equality New Mexico.

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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, founded in 1974 as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc., works to build the grassroots political power of the LGBT community to win complete equality. We do this through direct and grassroots lobbying to defeat anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation and pass pro-LGBT legislation and other measures. We also analyze and report on the positions of candidates for public office on issues of importance to the LGBT community. The Task Force Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation incorporated in New York. Contributions to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund are not tax deductible.