New Mexico governor commits to hate-crimes bill

BY Advocate.com Editors

March 18 2003 12:00 AM ET

New Mexico governor Bill Richardson said Friday that he would sign hate-crimes and gay rights legislation if lawmakers give final approval to the proposals. "It's my sincere desire that New Mexico remain a beacon of hope, of diversity, of tolerance, and of justice for all people," Richardson said at a news conference. "It is in this spirit that I ask the legislature to send me, for signature, the hate-crimes bill and the nondiscrimination bill."

The house and senate have approved separate bills to broaden the state's Human Rights Act to cover sexual orientation--heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality--and gender identity. The legislation would make it illegal to discriminate in matters of employment, housing, credit, public accommodations, and union membership. A senate-passed hate-crimes bill is pending in the house. It provides extra prison time for offenders whose crimes are found by a court to have been motivated by hate.

Richardson previously hadn't committed to signing the measures, saying he would need to review the details of the bills when they cleared the legislature.

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