LOS ANGELES, CA -- New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson issued a statement tonight clarifying an answer to a question during the Human Rights Campaign Presidential Forum in Los Angeles. The question came from panelist Melissa Etheridge, who asked if he believed homosexuality is a choice.
"Let me be clear -- I do not believe that sexual orientation or gender identity happen by choice," Governor Richardson said. "But I'm not a scientist, and the point I was trying to make is that no matter how it happens, we are all equal and should be treated that way under the law. That is what I believe, that is what I have spent my career fighting for. I ask that people look at my record and my actions and they will see I have been a true supporter of the LGBT community."
Governor Bill Richardson has an accomplished record fighting for the rights of all Americans. Since taking office, Governor Richardson has:
- Expanded anti-discrimination laws to include sexual orientation. [Senate Bill SB 28, 2003 Legislature]
- Signed into law the state's first hate crimes legislation for acts including those based on sexual orientation. [SB 38, 2003 Legislature]
- Provided state health insurance for domestic partnerships. [Executive Order 03 010]
- Signed the Billy Griego HIV and AIDS Act, which was designed to ensure that consumers are the focus of the funding and services provided in all the state's HIV and AIDS cases. [Senate Bill 314, 2005 Legislature]
- Created the state's first HIV and AIDS Policy Commission charged with reviewing and making recommendations on state HIV and AIDS policies. The commission also studies and makes recommendations on all factors affecting the availability, quality and accessibility of health services for persons with HIV and AIDS. [Senate Bill 313, 2005 Legislature]
- Called a Special Session of the NM State Legislature to push for Domestic Partnerships Legislation, among other issues, after it failed by one vote in the Senate during the Regular Session. Governor Richardson has pledged to push for the legislation again during the next Legislative Session.
As President, Bill Richardson will:
- Continue to fight for equal rights for ALL Americans.
- Champion a repeal of the US Military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
- Appoint his Vice-President to be the Chair of the HIV/AIDS Commission.