Over the last decade the LGBTQ+ community has seen progress in nearly every facet of our society. Following the Supreme Court’s decision on Obergefell v. Hodges which codified the right of same-sex couples to marry, many felt that our work was done. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Across the country and here in New Mexico, opponents of queer liberation and self-determination have re-organized under the guise of “religious freedom advocates.” While they may have conceded the issue of marriage for the moment, they are working to rip the wires out of the machines that were built to protect us from discrimination and oppression.
Since 1993, Equality New Mexico has been at the forefront of demanding progress and winning equality for LGBTQ+ New Mexicans, including establishing basic nondiscrimination protections, fighting for marriage equality, protecting young people from so-called “conversion therapy” and bullying. Fortunately, New Mexicans have leaders like Sen. Martin Heinrich, who has been a champion for LGBTQ+ equality throughout his career, and before it was politically expedient. As a Congressman, he was a co-sponsor of the original “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal bill, and he consistently fought against constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act. Since marriage equality became the law of the land, Sen. Heinrich has been fighting for LGBTQ+ students’ rights and to prevent transgender discrimination in the military. That’s why Equality New Mexico endorsed Martin Heinrich for the US Senate.
New Mexico can’t afford a senator like Gary Johnson, who likes to boast about his support of LGBTQ+ equality, but a closer look at his position reveals a different story. Whether it’s his support for Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh or his radical opposition to hate crime laws—Gary Johnson’s record doesn’t match his rhetoric. We need leaders who will stand with the LGBTQ+ community, not just in their words but with their actions. Since holding political office, Sen. Heinrich has been a solid and trusted partner in fighting for our rights, and he did so before the national conversation on the issue changed. There is too much at risk this November and we need candidates who are steadfast in their commitment for LGBTQ+ protections and equality.
Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those held by this newspaper.