Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed two LGBTQ bills into law on Friday. HB 207 extends the scope of the New Mexico Human Rights Act to include protections for LGBTQ individuals. Now, a public body cannot discriminate against an individual based on the person’s gender identity or sexual orientation. HB 31 eliminates an antiquated statute requiring publication of a name change. The New Mexico Human Rights Act, which was written into statute in 1969 and updated in 2003 banned a public school district from discriminating against a potential employee because the person identifies as LGBTQ but did not address whether a teacher could discriminate against a student.
A bill to expand the New Mexico Human Rights Act to update its language and ensure public bodies cannot discriminate against LGBTQ individuals heads to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk. HB 207, sponsored by state Sen. Carrie Hamblen, D-Las Cruces, passed the state Senate by a vote of 26-10.
The bill updates the language in the Human Rights Act, which was written in the 1970s. The updated language replaces the word “handicap” with “disability,” and updates the definition for sexual orientation and gender identity. It also ensures that public bodies, which receive public dollars, cannot discriminate against LGBTQ individuals. An individual who alleges discrimination would take their grievance to the state Human Rights Commission.
A bill to expand the scope of the New Mexico Human Rights Act to include protections for the LGBTQ community passed the House by 47-to-20. HB 207, Expand the Human Rights Act Scope, is sponsored by state Rep. Kristina Ortez, D-Taos. It updates language in the state Human Rights Act to better reflect current language for the LGBTQ community and for the disabled community. The words “handicap” would be replaced with “disability” and the bill includes words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” It would also define the words “sex” and “gender.”
The bill would also expand the scope of current statute to prohibit public bodies and government contractors who receive public funding from discriminating against LGBTQ individuals. The New Mexico Human Rights Act was written in 1971 and updated in 2003, Ortez said.
A bill to expand the New Mexico Human Rights Act to include protections for LGBTQ individuals passed its first committee hearing by a party line vote of 5-3. HB 207, the Expand the Human Rights Act Scope, would, if enacted, update some of the language in the New Mexico Civil Rights Act and it will close a loophole in the current law so public entities, such as public schools, cannot discriminate against LGBTQ individuals. State Rep. Kristina Ortez, D-Taos, is the primary sponsor and presented the bill to the House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee on Saturday. If enacted, the bill will replace the word “handicap” with “disability,” update the language in the bill to include the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” It will also include definitions for the words “sex” and “gender,” Ortez told the committee during the hearing. The three Republicans on the committee spoke during the question period on the bill.