Hundreds of militant lesbian, gay, bi and transgender youth poured into the streets of Albuquerque on March 5 to protest attempts by right-wing New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and her supporters to end the state's current progressive policies on same-sex marriage and civil unions. New Mexico currently has no legislation or constitutional mandate defining marriage as only between a man and a woman. The state also recognizes the validity of out-of-state same-sex marriages and provides certain protections under the law for same-sex couples living in New Mexico.
At one point the demonstrators took over a major intersection, blocking traffic chanting, "Gay, straight, Black white—Marriage is a civil right!" and "L-G-B-T, we demand equality!"
Right-wing forces in New Mexico are planning to introduce legislation that would define marriage as a union only between a man and a woman and eliminate civil rights for same-sex couples. The Martinez administration's main focus, since her election, has been to target both LGBT rights and to attack immigrants by attempting to overturn progressive legislation protecting the rights of undocumented workers, such as the ability to obtain driver's licenses.
Chris DeBonis, an Albuquerque organizer for the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), led the chanting as the march moved up and down Central Avenue. "We're sending a message," he said, "to Gov. Martinez and her right-wing backers that we will not back down in our fight for the rights of same-sex couples to full protection under the law, including the right to marry. This issue will be decided here in the streets, not in the Governor's mansion. United, we say no to bigotry and full equality for all!"