The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday didn’t have enough votes to pass a bill to establish domestic partnerships in New Mexico.
Five senators -- sponsor Cisco McSorley, Peter Wirth, Michael Sanchez ,Linda Lopez and Tim Eichenberg, all Democrats -- voted to give Senate Bill 12 a do-pass recommendation. However, the four committee Republicans -- Bill Payne, John Ryan, Clint Harden and Sander Rue, were joined by Democrat Richard Martinez, D-Espanola to vote no.
The bill needed a majority to get the do-pass.
Another Democrat, Sen. Bernadette Sanchez of Albuquerque, who missed the vote, said later that she would have voted no. “Because that’s what my constituents want,” she told reporters. Sanchez entered the committee room only moments after the vote. She denied "taking a walk" on the vote, saying she had to answer two important phone calls.
Eric Witt, a legislative liaison for Gov. Bill Richardson, who supports the bill, said the governor will be meeting with legislators “who don’t currently support the bill” to get them to change their minds. Rep. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, is carrying a similar bill, HB 21, in the House.
The committee room was packed with supporters and opponents of SB 12.