Gov. wants vote

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Richardson wants Senate to vote on domestic partnerships

By Special to the Monitor

SANTA FE — Gov. Bill Richardson remains optimistic about chances in the Legislature for a proposal to allow domestic partnerships.

The Democratic governor said Wednesday he doesn’t want the bill to become bottled up in a state Senate committee this session and has been meeting with senators to try to arrange for a vote by the full Senate.

The bill would give unmarried same-sex and opposite-sex couples the legal protections and benefits of married couples, including on issues such as the authority to make end-of-life decisions for a partner and inheritance rights.

The bill has cleared one committee but needs to get through two more to reach the Senate floor unless a procedural change is made.

“I think every senator should get a chance to vote on it. This is an important civil rights issue. I know it’s controversial,” said Richardson.

The Judiciary Committee postponed a vote on the bill Wednesday because a winter storm made travel hazardous in the Santa Fe area.

Richardson acknowledged that the bill — even if it gets to the Senate floor — faces strong opposition. The chamber rejected a domestic partnership bill last year on a 27-15 vote, with 10 Democrats joined the chamber’s 15 Republicans in opposing the proposal.

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