New Mexico passes gender identity inclusive Bill

The New Mexico Hate Crimes Bill passed the New Mexico House of Representatives today, and Gov. Bill Richardson has pledged to sign the legislation. The Bill establishes increased penalties for acts of violence against many groups, among them sexual orientation and gender identity. Representatives of New Mexico Gender Advocacy Information network(NMGAIN), a transgender advocacy organization, had lobbied the NM legislature for over four years, to see the protective legislation pass.Virginia Stephenson, executive director of NMGAIN, said upon the Bill's
passage, "This victory is a triumph for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender persons in our state, and will contribute greatly toward
safety and protection for us all. This passage is also a testament to many
allies working together to see legislation pass. We earnestly thank the
Coalition for Equality in New Mexico for working to see this inclusive Bill become law." Virginia also served as a full-time lobbyist during the session,
which also saw a non-discrimination Bill introduced to protect sexual
orientation and gender identity. This Bill is pending in the NM Senate, and is
scheduled for a vote by week's end. Virginia also said, "With the passage of a Hate Crimes Bill in New Mexico,to protect among others: sexual orientation and gender identity, may this serve to speed all states to have such protections, and serve notice on our culture that all persons are deserving of respect and freedom."