State senators in New Mexico are likely to
vote on a bill that would create gay and straight domestic
partnerships in the state next week, reports the New Mexico
The Domestic Partner Rights and
Responsibilities Act, introduced as Senate Bill 12 by Senator Cisco
McSorley, has been crafted to give committed gay and lesbian couples
New Mexico falls in the small category
of states that have not acted for or against gay marriage. The state
has come close to passing a domestic partner law in the past and the
state's governor, Bill Richardson, has promised to sign it. The
state has outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation and
gender identity since 2003.
The paper is reporting that the vote
might come up as early as Monday.
Supporters say they remain optimistic
about passage, but concede the vote will be close. A similar bill
was defeated in 2007 by a single vote. Since then, however, the
Senate's composition has changed.
“Many incumbents were defeated [on
November 4], and some of those were supporters of domestic
partnerships, but we have also picked up a couple of votes from
incumbents who didn't support us last time,” Diane Wood, director
of the northern regional office of the American Civil Liberties
Union, told the paper.
“I think we're gonna pass it, and
it's gonna be by one or two votes,” she said.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved
the legislation without recommending approval by a 6-5 vote this
The bill had reached a stalemate on tie
votes; its chances of surviving out of committee were dimming when
Democratic Albuquerque Senator Bernadette Sanchez, who had been
absent during an earlier vote this month, broke the deadlock Monday
by voting in favor of sending the measure to the full Senate.
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has
pledged his support for the measure.