Santa Fe – Republican Governor Susana Martinez has vetoed a bill to provide assistance to families of active duty and veteran gay service members in obtaining professional licenses during their time in the state, while signing an identical bill to help only straight spouses.
Republicans across the country are coming out for equality. But not in New Mexico, and certainly not Governor Susana Martinez.
The legislature sent Republican Governor Martinez two versions of the same bill, HB180 and SB258, making it easier for the state to help our active duty and retired service members and their spouses obtain professional licenses like those issued from the state for contractors and barbers.
The only difference? The Senate version contained an amendment, offered by Sen. Jacob Candelaria (the state’s only openly gay member), to be sure domestic partners of gay service members would be covered too.
On Friday she made her choice: Governor Martinez pocket vetoed the version to extend help to partners of gay service members.
“In the post-‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ era, openly gay service members are proudly serving and dying for our country. And their partners back home bear the same burdens as their straight neighbors,” says Pat Davis of ProgressNow New Mexico, a non-profit advocacy work advocating for LGBT equality and progressive issues in the state.
“The rest of the country has moved forward and understands the sacrifice our proud gay service members make. 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.”