New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez vetoed a bill that would have helped same-sex domestic partners of military personnel obtain professional licenses in New Mexico. She later signed an identical bill that only protected heterosexual military couples, Salon reports.
The bill was drafted to expedite the process for military families or recent veterans who relocate to New Mexico, so that spouses or partners who need to become licensed in order to work—such as teachers or counselors—can quickly begin work. Agencies will have to issue a license to professionals related to military personnel "as soon as practicable," if the applicant is already licensed in another state, according to the Huffington Post.
“I’m pleased that we are now removing this red tape and making it easier for our troops, veterans, and military spouses to get to work right away,” Martinez said in a statement upon signing the bill last month.
Pat Davis of ProgressNOW New Mexico decried the move to the Post, and said that the Republican governor's message basically stated, "if you're gay, we're not going to help you." He added that this is especially harmful since New Mexico has a high population of service members and veterans.
“The rest of the country has moved forward and understands the sacrifice our proud gay service members make," Davis told Salon. "There is no excuse in today’s age for signing a bill that intentionally thumbs one’s nose at our gay soldiers unless you believe that their service and sacrifice is somehow less important.”
The law takes effect July 1.