Heinrich: More protections needed following DADT repeal

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich signed onto a letter to the Secretary of Defense asking for the Pentagon to institute specific anti-discrimination policies applying to gay, lesbian and bisexual service members. “Doing away with the discriminatory military policy of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ brought us closer to achieving full equality for all Americans,” Heinrich told New Mexico Political Report in a statement. “However, current policies have not been updated to protect thousands of our heroic gay and lesbian service members who still face discrimination in the workplace. That’s unacceptable and it must change.” Buzzfeed News was the first to report  the letter. The letter calls on Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to expand upon the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

New Archdiocese of Santa Fe archbishop ‘A Pope-Francis kind of appointment’

Pope Francis selected John C. Wester as the next Archbishop for the diocese of Santa Fe. Wester was recently the bishop of Salt Lake City. He will replace Archbishop Michael Sheehan, who has to retire after turning 75, in June. In a press conference, Sheehan said, according to the Albuquerque Journal::This appointment was a Pope-Francis kind of appointment, representing the values that the pope himself has,” Sheehan said of Wester. “There were choices.

Same-sex marriage remains illegal on Navajo Nation

Same-sex marriage is becoming legalized in states throughout the country and a potential nationwide legalization looms on the horizon. But even if the Supreme Court of the United States rules in favor of same-sex marriage, these areas will not have legalized same-sex marriage. Some tribes around the country, which are sovereign nations, still do not allow same-sex couples to marry, including the Navajo Nation according to the Associated Press. The Navajo Nation—which spans through portions of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah—is one of the two largest sovereign Native American tribes in the country. From the AP:
Alray Nelson, a gay rights activist who lives with his partner Brennen Yonnie on the Navajo reservation, said the tribe’s law denies same-sex couples the right to be included in decisions on a partner’s health care, or to share in a home site lease.

New Mexico has a ‘religious freedom’ law—but not like Indiana’s

Indiana has been at the center of a firestorm after Gov. Mike Pence signed a “religious freedom” bill into law that critics say would legalize discrimination against LGBT customers. Pence, and other supporters, have been on the defensive about the law and one talking point they have used is that many other states have such “religious freedom” laws, as does the federal government. Using this talking point, the Washington Post wrote that 19 other states already have similar laws on the books and so does the federal government. Included on that map? New Mexico.