Mayor Javier M. Gonzales raised the Pride Flag above City Hall this morning Friday, June 27, 2014 at about 8:15 a.m. in front of a crowd of about 50 people who gathered to celebrate June as Pride month for members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (gender identity/expression) (LGBT) communities. Supporters each took a turn pulling the halyard to raise the flag above City Hall. Mayor Gonzales also read an official proclamation designating June as Pride Month in Santa Fe, which was presented to Richard Bell of the Santa Fe Human Rights Alliance. Also present at today’s event was Brandi, Ms. Santa Fe Pride.
“Everyone should be able to live without fear of prejudice, discrimination, violence or hatred based on gender identity or sexual orientation. We are a community that celebrates a culture of inclusiveness and acceptance,” said Mayor Gonzales. “I’m proud that Santa Fe has been a leader on policies to prevent discrimination on sexual orientation and marriage equality.”
The City of Santa Fe is a leader in gay rights and offers inclusive health benefits to its employees, and has historically advocated on behalf of LGBT employees and community members.
Photos of today’s event are available at the city’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152509453059464.1073741957.68850009463&type=1.
On April 24, 2013, the Santa Fe City Council passed a resolution recognizing same-sex marriage is legal in New Mexico and encouraging New Mexico clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The resolution was introduced by former Mayor David Coss and City Councilor Patti Bushee and was based on an opinion written by former City Attorney Geno Zamora, which said in summary that: New Mexico’s statutory definition of marriage is gender-neutral and does not define marriage as between a man and a woman. Additionally, New Mexico law does not specifically prohibit same-sex marriage. Therefore, same-sex couples are capable of contracting within the law and capable of marrying in the State of New Mexico.
The City of Santa Fe’s action triggered lawsuits, more legal analysis, and within a short period eight counties started issuing same gender marriage licenses. On December 19, 2013 the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled unanimously that it’s unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples in New Mexico.
Present today at the Pride flag raising ceremony at City Hall this morning were Linda Siegle and her wife County Commissioner Liz Stephanics, who were the first same sex couple to receive a marriage license in Santa Fe and were married the same day in the County Commission Chambers.
“I never would have thought in 1991 when we first started trying to pass the non-discrimination law in the New Mexico legislature that we would be here in 2014 with an out gay Mayor and five or six out gay and lesbian elected officials in Santa Fe,” said Linda Siegle. “With the help of many of you who have been at those legislative hearings over the years, we have achieved so much.
“The other day at the County Commission meeting I made sure that everyone knew Gay Pride Week had started and that we wanted our county staff, our families to about gay pride and that we supported them for the county bench,” said, Liz Stephanics, County Commissioner. “The county clerk has done a great job with marriage licenses and are highly commended, especially her front line staff.”
On Monday, June 30, 2014 City Councilor Signe I. Lindell and her partner, Maria Sanchez will represent the City of Santa Fe at a reception in celebration of LGBT Pride month in the nation’s capital of Washington, DC at the White House with President Obama. While in Washington, DC, Councilor Lindell will also participate in briefings on policy issues being presented by the White House such as: Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) human rights, access to affordable health care, safety for LGBT students and the continuing national strategy to address HIV/AIDS.
“I feel like I am standing at an overlook with a tremendous view of history and I’m honored to represent Santa Fe in our nation’s capital,” said City Councilor Signe Lindell. “I pledge to work for Santa Fe on the policy issues being presented at The White House.”
The text of the Mayor’s proclamation designating June to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month in Santa Fe states:
WHEREAS; the Stonewall Riots began in New York on June 28, 1969, and are regarded as a catalyst for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (gender identity/expression) – also known as LGBT – movement for civil rights in the United States; and
WHEREAS; June is celebrated as LGBT Pride Month nationwide; and
WHEREAS; the City of Santa Fe has a diverse LGBT community that includes people of all ethnicities, religions and professions; and
WHEREAS; the City of Santa Fe has welcomed people for centuries and has always celebrated both our interconnectedness as well as our differences; and
WHEREAS; the City of Santa Fe recognizes that our diversity is what sets us apart and what we treasure; and
WHEREAS; it’s not surprising in the City of Santa Fe that we have long welcomed and accepted lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in our families, neighborhoods and workplaces; and
WHEREAS; everyone should be able to live without fear of prejudice, discrimination, violence or hatred based on gender identity/expression or sexual orientation; and
WHEREAS; in the City of Santa Fe all residents are urged to respect and honor our diverse community and celebrate and build a culture of inclusiveness and acceptance; and
NOW THEREFORE, I, JAVIER M. GONZALES, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF SANTA FE, I do hereby proclaim June 2014 as
“LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH”