Friday, August 31, 2007

Richardson pledges domestic partnerships for '08 session

By David Alire Garcia

At an Aug. 30 Santa Fe fundraiser for New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s presidential campaign, organized and attended mostly by the state’s gay elite, Richardson poked some fun at himself.
Recalling the political hornets nest he stirred up at a gay-themed Democratic candidate debate earlier this month, at which he called homosexuality a personal preference (“It’s a choice,” he infamously said), Richardson owned up to the gaffe in the first few lines of his remarks.
“I want to start out by saying I’m sorry,” he told the gathering at a ritzy Las Campanas home. “Is there any press here,” he then asked with a big grin on his face. “Can I go off the record with one word?” Hearing no objection, the governor added: “I fucked up.”
The forgiving and slightly inebriated crowd instantly erupted in laughter.
Later on, Richardson promised to put domestic partnership legislation on his official call for the coming January 30-day legislative session in addition to major health care reform.
“The governor is the only person that can add to the agenda,” he said. “If I don’t do anything, it will only be the budget. But I want to tell you here that we have some unfinished business and it’s called domestic partnerships.”
He noted that advocates will need to gain one vote in the state Senate—“or two just for insurance.”
Richardson added, “If we can pass this law, this is going to be historic. Remember we are in a red state,” he said. “I know I’m in a sea of progressives, but I want you to know you are vastly outnumbered,” Richardson said to more laughter. “And if you don’t believe me go to Clovis or go to Alamogordo.”
Members of the fundraiser host committee estimated that as much as $100,000 was raised during the evening.

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