Entries in New Mexico (6)


Santa Fe Goes Rogue on Gay Marriage

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SANTA FE, N.M.) -- Same-sex marriage is already legal in New Mexico, if Santa Fe city officials are to be believed.

Citing an ABC News-Washington Post poll this week that showed growing support for gay marriage nationally, Santa Fe Mayor David Coss, City Attorney Geno Zamora and Councilor Patti Bushee announced their support for gay marriage Tuesday and recommended that city clerks begin doling out marriage licenses to couples, regardless of gender.

“Marriage law in New Mexico is gender-neutral and does not define marriage as between a man and a woman,” Zamora said in a statement from Santa Fe city government. “New Mexico already recognizes valid marriages performed in other states between same-sex couples; it would violate our state’s constitution to deny equal rights in our own families.”

Coss is a Democrat, but his coming out in favor of gay marriage echoes the sentiments of Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, because he has a gay child. Portman announced his support for marriage equality last week, saying he wanted his gay son to enjoy the same opportunities as his other children.

Some marriage-equality activists see the Santa Fe mayor’s declaration as a positive step forward, but others worry it could end in heartbreak for the couples that heed the mayor’s call to marry.

Gregory T. Angelo, executive director of pro-gay rights Republican organization Log Cabin Republicans, compared Santa Fe to San Francisco in 2004 when then-Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered county clerks to give marriage licenses to gay couples, resulting in more than 3,000 marriages that were invalidated by California Supreme Court six months later.

“I think this could be a mess,” Angelo said Wednesday. “It’s also unfair, I think, to gay and lesbian couples who might obtain marriage licenses through this initiative, because they would not have the guarantee of protections that would be afforded to them if this was handled on the state level.”

But law professor Andrew Koppelman of Northwestern University believes this is a straightforward case. For county clerks to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples would be illegal discrimination, in his view.

“For a long time, this argument was a loser because people presupposed without any legal authority to support it that same-sex marriage was impossible. But that has changed,” Koppelman said Wednesday. “This argument that same-sex couples already have a right to marry under existing law as a legal argument could very well be a winner in court.”

Stuart Gaffney of Marriage Equality USA is cautiously optimistic about Mayor Coss’ call to county clerks.

Gaffney recognized the connection between the San Francisco case, but said those invalidated marriages all paved the way for the Supreme Court case on same-sex marriage being heard next week.

“Whether people are able to finally say, ‘I do,’ in Santa Fe or across New Mexico at this moment, I can’t say for sure. But it’s part of the process that is bringing marriage equality closer every day,” Gaffney said.

But Gaffney, who married his husband in California before the 2008 passage of Proposition 8, warned that couples who take the mayor up on his offer are opening themselves up to more than just the bliss of married life.

“It can be heartbreaking for couples to see their marriages come and go, so I certainly would not advise anyone to enter into a marriage that may become a test case, unless they’re ready to make that part of their marriage vows,” Gaffney said. “I would ask them to consider it very carefully.”

Gaffney told ABC News in February that activists “have never been more hopeful” about the future of same-sex marriage in America. He reiterated that optimism today.

“There’s no question that we’re going to see it in our lifetimes, it’s just how much longer do we have to wait,” he said.

Ultimately, same-sex marriages in New Mexico could face opposition from New Mexico Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

Martinez has gone on record against legalizing same-sex marriage, as recently as late February.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Struggling Presidential Candidate Switches Parties

Matthew Simmons/WireImage(SANTA FE, N.M.) -- Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson made little headway as a Republican candidate for president, so now he'll run as a Libertarian.

The two-party system, he says, is rigged for the wealthiest and best-known candidates in a handful of states.

If elected, Johnson vows to cut spending, support abortion rights, and legalize marijuana.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Campaign Email Blasts Economist, Liberal Blogs

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A controversial email from an Obama campaign staffer in New Mexico to statewide supporters earlier this month highlights the ideological divide on the left over the debt ceiling deal, while raising the ire of the president's most liberal critics.

On Aug. 1, just hours after Congress approved the bipartisan deal, Obama for America New Mexico State Director Ray Sandoval sent out an email blast with an attached blog post that he said “does a great job of explaining the Debt Ceiling deal.”  

The article, penned by Spandan Chakrabarti of The People’s View, is largely an annotated summary of the legislative package, which he calls an “out and out win for the president,” including links to the White House website and explanations of the super committee process and the ensuing triggers, or automatic cuts, if it doesn’t reach a deal.

But it’s Chakrabarti’s words for some of the president’s Democratic critics that pack the real punch.  He calls Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman a “political rookie” and refers to other detractors of the compromise from the “Firebagger Lefty blogosphere” who he believes are all misguided in their assessment of the deal.

“The loudest screeching noise you hear coming from Krugman and the ideologue Left is, of course, Medicare.  Oh, no, the President is agreeing to a Medicare trigger!!!  Oh noes!!!  Everybody freak out right now!  But let’s look at the deal again, shall we,” he writes.   

Krugman has called the debt deal a “disaster” for Obama, Democrats and the U.S. economy.

Later, Chakrabarti, 28, says of the triggers, which include pain for both parties, “The more than half-a-trillion in defense and security spending cut ‘trigger’ for the Republicans will hardly earn a mention on the Firebagger Lefty blogosphere….”

The email was first obtained and reported on by the Huffington Post.

While an Obama campaign spokeswoman said “the views expressed in this email do not represent the views of the campaign,” the association of inflammatory language with the president’s re-election team has touched a nerve in some circles.

“What exactly does OFA [Obama for America] think they stand to gain by ridiculing Krugman as a ‘political rookie,’ a hysterical ‘fanatic’ and an ‘ideologue’?,” blasted Jane Hamsher, author of the popular liberal blog FireDogLake.  “Do they think they hold so much sway with liberals that they can discredit Krugman and thus neutralize his criticism?”

The episode likely compounds the belief expressed by some liberals that the White House has not been respectful of or responsive to their concerns.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gary Johnson: 'From Obscurity to Prominence' in New Hampshire

Matthew Simmons/WireImage(WASHINGTON) -- Former Gov. Gary Johnson jumped into the 2012 presidential race this week, bringing his libertarian leanings -- and his much-noted support for legalizing marijuana -- into a still-fluid Republican field.

On ABC’s Top Line Friday, Johnson, R-N.M., told us that he’ll be concentrating his campaign on “Live Free or Die” New Hampshire, in the hopes of vaulting into prominence.

“You can't deny that I am the underdog,” Johnson said from WMUR-TV studios in the Granite State.

New Hampshire, he said, is “a state where you got to go out and meet everybody. And you've got to cuss and discuss and debate the issues, which is a terrific environment. And I'm going to be engaged in that environment here, and possibly go from obscurity to a prominence when it comes to the issues of the day.”

As for policy matters, Johnson isn’t shy to discuss areas where he may break with GOP dogma.

“I support gay unions. I think the government ought to get out of the marriage business. And then for me as governor of New Mexico, everything was a cost-benefit analysis. There weren't any sacred cows -- everything was a cost-benefit analysis. What are we spending money on and what are we getting for the money that we're spending? So in that sense, the drug war is absolutely a failure.”

He also said Republicans should be more aggressive than they’ve been in cutting federal spending. They should take on entitlement programs, too; Medicare and Medicaid could be slashed by 43 percent and turned into grant programs for the states to distribute.

“I think we should balance the federal budget tomorrow,” Johnson said. “I'm optimistic. I think Americans are optimistic. We went to the moon, we can balance the federal budget. We can fix this…. We're not addressing the problems that we face, and that starts with Medicaid, Medicare, reforming Social Security and Defense. And I mean cutting those areas.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News


Senate Democrat Jeff Bingaman to Retire

Photo Courtesy - Office of Sen. Jeff Bingaman(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., plans to announce he will retire rather than seek another term, ABC News has confirmed.

The 67-year old Bingaman, who has been in the Senate for 28 years, had not raised a lot of money yet or revealed his intentions about a re-election run.

Bingaman will now become the fourth Democratic senator to decide not to run for re-election in 2012, joining a group that already includes Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Jim Webb of Virginia.

On the GOP side, the Senate’s number two Republican, Jon Kyl of Arizona, has announced plans to leave the Senate, as has Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas.

Twenty-three Democratic-held Senate seats are up for re-election in 2012, complicating Democrats’ chances of retaining control of the upper chamber of Congress.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Senate Majority Rules? Senator Wants Showdown on Filibuster Reform

Photo Courtesy - Tom Udall [dot] Senate [dot] gov(NEW YORK) -- Their majority dwindling, some Senate Democrats are planning a showdown on the first day of the new Congress over limiting Republicans' ability to hold up legislation through filibusters.

"We don't want to give the minority the ability to block the majority from governing," Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, a leading proponent of filibuster reform, told ABC News.

According to Udall, momentum is building behind his effort to amend Senate Rule XXII, which allows 3/5ths of the Senate -- or 60 members -- to invoke "cloture" and end debate.  Failure to clear that 60-vote hurdle leaves a bill on the table, effectively killing it, and is commonly referred to as a modern "filibuster."

Udall proposes that senators who wish to hold up a piece of legislation be required to engage in a "talking filibuster," in which they would continuously speak on the floor, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"-style, rather than simply using a failed cloture vote to kill a bill.

Udall also wants to eliminate so-called "anonymous holds" that allow any senator to issue a silent objection, freezing a bill or nomination.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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