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The state Senate just passed Senate Memorial 83, declaring today to be PFLAG Day in the Senate. The vote was 33-0.

The memorial was sponsored by Sen. Bill Soules, D-Las Cruces.

PFLAG, originally known as "Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays," was, according to its website: founded in 1972 "with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son ..." It's the nation's largest family and ally organization. 

This might be seen as just one of those routine memorials in which legislators honor some civic group. 

But the unanimous vote -- and the simple fact the Senate heard it at all -- is a sign of progress.

Just two years ago, leaders of the Senate quietly decided that a memorial sponsored by Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque, to declare it "Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Day" at the Roundhouse was too hot to handle.

 Republican Whip Bill Payne of Albuquerque told me ... that he was the one who went to Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez of Belen and asked that there be no hearing on SM 39. “It would have created a big floor fight,” he said. Another Republican senator was ready to introduce a “Traditional Family Day” memorial in retaliation, Payne said.

No Republican actually threatened to shut down the Senate, Payne said. But he made the point that encouraging politically charged memorials could open the door to memorials for a “Right to Life Day,” a “Pro-Choice Day,” on down the line.

... Payne said he and Sanchez agreed to give the organizers of [LGBT] Day a certificate from the Senate instead of debating the memorial.

This year there was no big floor fight, no counter-memorials. Nothing. A few senators said a few nice words -- and nine senators weren't around for the vote-- and that was it.

(By the way, I still stand by what I said in that blog post about there being too many memorials in the Legislature. But that's another story.)

Speaking of LGBT rights, it's Equality Day in New Mexico. There's an even in the Rotunda as I'm writing this.

(1) comment

Dowg Walker

So why are we wasting Senate time honoring sinful behavior? My kid is a fornicator, I support him, so honor me and the world won't explode (stupid remark, huh). Why don't we just do the will of the people and quit empowering radical homosexuals to be bullies. Why do LGBT have special rights and recognition over everyone else?

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