Las Cruces and Gallup – New Mexico GLBTQ Centers responded today to the defeat in the New Mexico House Voters and Elections Committee of HJR3, the marriage equality amendment.
The Centers' Executive Director, David Stocum, responded, “Despite passionate pleas from bill sponsor Brian Eglof and House Speaker Martinez, Las Cruces Representative and committee Chair Mary Helen Garcia was one of two Democrats to vote with Republicans to table HJR3 effectively killing it.” Stocum also stated, “The gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community is especially disappointed with Rep. Garcia since we believed her to be our friend.”
New Mexico GLBTQ Centers sent the following letter to Rep. Garcia via email:
“I am dismayed and disappointed with your vote killing HJR3. Your vote denied the respect for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (glbt) community in New Mexico that we deserve.
Despite the long history of New Mexican's having the backs of our friends and family along with the belief by most in our state that we should treat others the way we would like to be treated, you voted to leave over 45,000 New Mexicans (from Movement Advancement Project) out in the cold.
This is not a complicated issue, it is about respecting all families in New Mexico, including mine.
My partner, Richard, and I have been together 13 years, and given the opportunity, would love to share our commitment surrounded by our friends, family and neighbors, and to have the security and protections that only marriage will give us.
We share the worries of other couples, like making ends meet, the possibility of losing our income, and making sure that we can offer the safety and security that our loved ones deserve. As foster parents, we have the same concerns as all parents ... supporting our kids success in school, keeping them safe and away from gangs, drugs and the dangers of being a kid in the 21st century. We are no different than any other couple, gay or straight, in New Mexico.
Yet we, and all glbt couples, are disrespected and that disrespect is sanctioned by our elected officials like yourself with this unfortunate vote. What does this say to a glbt youth being bullied in school?
This is not a religious issue. I, and most in the glbt community, strongly support religious freedom. Marriage equality is a civil matter. Allowing Richard and I to marry won't change anything for churches or ministers. No pastor or priest would be required to marry a same sex couple. It would allow those ministers and churches who support marriage to marry same sex couples. This means freedom for all religions to follow the teachings of their faith.
I hope that you and all New Mexicans will reflect on what marriage equality is really about, fairness, respect and dignity for all New Mexican families.”
For more information on New Mexico GLBTQ Centers; visit www.newmexicoglbtqcenters.org or stop by the centers at 1210 N. Main Street in Las Cruces or 216 W. Maloney Avenue in Gallup.