New Mexico’s Proposed Domestic Partnership Law Raises Issues

new-mexico-1.thumbnail.pngNew Mexico–one of five states that does not have laws or a constitution that defines marriage–also has no domestic partnership law. Domestic partnership bills have passed the House of Representatives three times in the past, and two years ago, the Senate came within one vote of passing the bill.

Conservative Republican Sen. Bill Sharer said in a recent legislative session he tried to craft a bill with language that

would have given couples who live together — including homosexual couples — virtually all the rights that married couples have, including hospital visits, inheritance rights and other legal and financial rights.

But Sharer’s legislation would have also defined marriage as being between a man and a woman, something which gay rights advocates protested. That bill died.

Now the Democratic chairman of the state Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Cisco McSorley, has introduced new legislation minus the definition of marriage, and is "optimistic" it will pass, telling the Santa Fe New Mexican:

It has a great chance of passing. There’s a lot of new legislators who are for it who have replaced legislators who were against it.

Sharer though sees the McSorley’s legislation as a way to open the door to civil marriage equality:

Supreme courts in California and Connecticut ruled that banning gay marriage was unconstitutional

adding that those decisions were based on domestic partnership laws, and predicting a battle over the proposed legislation. Supporters of the new bill deny trying to use domestic partnership as a gateway to civil marriage equality. Explains McSorley:

There’s lots of people in New Mexico who need, for whatever reason, to live together and share finances. This bill provides a device, virtually free, to allow couples to share financial and legal responsibilities.

And how do those affected feel about it? In an interview with the New Mexican, Linda Siegle, a lobbyist with Equality New Mexico, emphasized that McSorley’s bill is not a marriage bill, and allowing legal domestic partnership arrangements still is a "separate and unequal" situation for same-sex couples. The federal government does not recognize a domestic partner relationship as a married couple and 1130 federal rights granted married couples are denied to those in domestic partnerships.

But a domestic partnership law would be far better than the status quo.

Which right now is nothing.

16 Responses to "New Mexico’s Proposed Domestic Partnership Law Raises Issues"
cobernicus | Monday December 29, 2008 03:00 am 1

I am firmly convinced that the only way to solve this problem is to get the government completely out of the marriage business. The government would recognize only domestic partnerships. These would be available to every consenting adult couple, and confer all of the rights current given to “married” couples. Those who want a religious wedding could still have one, but doing so would not make their union “better” or “different” from a legal point of view.

I have no problem with a religion’s defining what it means by “marriage.” The problem occurs when the government chooses to grant benefits (tax breaks, legal rights, etc.) on the basis of this definintion. Once it becomes a government issue, all citizens must be treated equally.

I write this as a JP in CT where same sex marriage is illegal. I would be happy to never again perform a “marriage,” but continue to unite any loving couple that so desires.


Phoenix Woman | Monday December 29, 2008 06:08 am 2
In response to cobernicus @ 1

Exactly.


cobernicus | Monday December 29, 2008 06:48 am 3
In response to Phoenix Woman @ 2

Thanks for the vote of confidence. As one who is a big fan of your posts, I truly appreciate your support.


dakine01 | Monday December 29, 2008 07:51 am 4
In response to cobernicus @ 1

I believe you meant to say that Same-sex marriage in Connecticut is LEGAL.


cobernicus | Monday December 29, 2008 08:30 am 5
In response to dakine01 @ 4

OOPS! Thanks for the catch!


Mommybrain | Monday December 29, 2008 10:52 am 6
In response to cobernicus @ 1

Amen.


Millineryman | Monday December 29, 2008 04:16 pm 7

Denying all civil rights to gay and lesbians is the goal of Mormons and the religious right. Why they have fought so hard to keep sexual orietnation out of discriminatory laws at state and federal levels is they don’t want gays and lesbians who are out and proud, to be acknowledged as having any legal rights to exist. That’s the ultimate goal.

I’m sure they would have no problem with outlawing the natural sexual orientation that define gays and lesbians.


Millineryman | Monday December 29, 2008 05:22 pm 8

Don’t forget

Nationwide DOMA Protest

They also have an Open Letter posted on the site with a TBD address to mail the signatures to. The goal is to gather 1 million signatures on Jan 10.

The letter is a pdf document with a signature page for those who may be inclined to participate.


Teddy Partridge | Monday December 29, 2008 07:16 pm 9

Teddy Partridge | Monday December 29, 2008 07:18 pm 10
In response to Millineryman @ 8

Wow — that’s exciting. A million signatures on Obama’s desk on Day One to repeal DOMA, as he promised to do.


Millineryman | Monday December 29, 2008 07:36 pm 11
In response to Teddy Partridge @ 10

It would be great to make it happen. I’m passing a copy around to people who I know will support the repeal but won’t be at the protest.

If 100,000 people get 10 friends and family to sign, it’s a million.


Elliott | Monday December 29, 2008 07:42 pm 12
In response to Millineryman @ 7

what is so weird, this strong objection comes from a bunch of people so uptight they hide behind holy underwears. it ain’t right.


lokywoky | Monday December 29, 2008 07:50 pm 13

Did you all hear about the parental rights case here in Montana? A lesbian couple had separated, and the birth mother of their two children took them and denied visitation from the partner. The birth mother is now in a hetero relationship and was denying visitation with the kids on the basis that the other woman was “a lesbian”. WTF!

Our great District Court Judge Molloy ordered an investigation into the kids – and then found for the non-birth mother that as far as the kids were concerned, she WAS their other parent and so she will have visitation rights. Yay! Hard fought battle – but the other woman is appealing.

This case was heartbreaking on so many levels. But a truly equal ‘marriage’ or whatever you choose to call it would have negated all these hard feelings and legal expense.


TheLurkingMod | Monday December 29, 2008 08:03 pm 14

Eli is upstairs at the Mothership!
Wankers of the Month


MrWhy | Monday December 29, 2008 08:26 pm 15

Excuse my ignorance, but is there any reason to confer special status on relationships which include children?


DBfromPNW | Monday December 29, 2008 09:44 pm 16

For everyone’s information. Civil Unions for LGBT couples have been found to be a disaster in New Jersey and there is a movement to change them to marriage.

Civil Unions work wonderfully in Europe where ‘church’ weddings are ceremonial and carry no legal significance. Everyone gets their legal papers from the state, and only the state.

In this country millions have marriages granted by clergy that are ‘technically’ civil unions, but called marriage. You don’t have to go to the state to get legal certification because the clergy grant the license. Thus there is no broad understanding of civil unions. Hoping to change that perception is like cursing the wind – emotionally useful but…

New Jersey found that LGBT people with Civil Unions were just as likely to be denied hospital visitation, survivors benefits, and other civil rights. The reason was people in positions of power did not know that Civil Unions granted those rights. LGBT couples had to sue – defeating the purpose. In Massachusetts there was no such problem. In each state fundamentalist Christianists objected with equal vigor.

Waste of effort to believe that Civil Unions are effective at the state level.


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