Much of ACLU-NM’s work to protect civil rights is carried out in the legislative halls of the Roundhouse, the state capitol, in Santa Fe, as well as at city and town council meetings throughout the state. Through lobbying and grassroots organizing efforts we directly influence more than 100 bills each regular session that have civil liberties implications.
Examples of measures we have fought to defeat or pass include:
- ACLU-NM was a key player in passing a law that ended employment and housing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in New Mexico. This landmark law then laid the groundwork for an ACLU-NM legal victory that enabled New Mexico state employees with a same-sex partner to take advantage of health insurance and retirement benefits for their families or to use paid emergency leave to care for a family member in crisis.
- In 2009, thanks in part to the advocacy and lobbying of the ACLU-NM, New Mexico became the 15th state to abolish the death penalty. Civil rights advocates have long held that the death penalty as it exists in the United States today is cruel and unusual punishment, ineffective in deterring crime and disproportionately applied to people of color. In the last 25 years, over a hundred innocent people have been released from death row.
- When religious advocates attempted to pass legislation allowing New Mexico public schools to teach faith-based creation theories, ACLU-NM maneuvered to help defeat the bill. Were this type of legislation to pass, it would allow public funds to be used to push specific religious viewpoints on a religiously diverse student population, breaching the wall of separation between church and state.
You can also follow the link to learn more about our recent Policy and Legislative Advocacy work.