New Mexico gay rights bill dies

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com February 17 2001 12:00 AM ET

The New Mexico house of representatives voted 35–31 Thursday against a bill to ban antigay bias in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations. “This is our 10th year of trying to do this, and we will continue until people who are gay and lesbian have the same rights as everyone else,” said Linda Siegle of the Coalition for Equality. Opponents of the measure said that it would lead to a rash of lawsuits. “When these protected persons cannot even be identified and we can’t even tell what that person is, then we’re allowing ourselves to be set up for a lot of court cases,” said Republican representative Earlene Roberts. “The attorneys ought to really love this because that just gives them one more thing to sue over.” Supporters of the measure pointed out that it is legal in New Mexico to fire a person or refuse to hire a person solely because he or she is gay. “These people are without protection. They are our neighbors, our friends, our families. They contribute to society,” said Democratic representative Gail Beam, the measure’s sponsor. “It is a matter of fairness. And until there is justice and equality for all, there really won’t be any for any of us.”