Bill Richardson on Civil Rights
Democratic Governor (NM); Secretary of Commerce-Designee
A: No, I wouldnít. Because I think, as president, I would commit myself, number one, that I will be a leader that prevents discrimination on the basis of race, gender and sexual orientation.
A: The nation, I believe, is on a path to full inclusion. A president must lead that effort. In my judgment, what is achievable is civil unions with full marriage rights, with domestic partnership. I believe thatís achievable.
A: I was the chief deputy Democratic whip at the time, and Clinton was president. The objective in passing DOMA was to fight a huge assault for a constitutional amendment in the Congress to ban gay marriage. It was sort of a cheap political way to decimate a bad initiative. I would repeal that horrendous initiative that I voted for and I regret now. DOMA would preclude a number of the full partnership rights that I want to see with civil unions.
A: Sure, you know, and Iím Hispanic. I felt the sting as a kid of being stereotyped. And I apologized but I meant no harm when I said that. It was, you know, one of those exchanges that I was caught off guard. No, I am not backing off. I apologize, but I think you should look at my actions and not words. Let me tell you what Iíve done as governor. You can talk about what mistakes people have made. Iíve made plenty. And Iíve probably said things that I regret across the board. But we should look at what weíve done. I accept [responsibility] obviously -- but you should look at my record. Action speaks louder than words.
A: No. I did [call it last session].
Q: Oh, you did. And how did it go?
A: It didnít pass. We lost by one vote.
Q: So you didnít call a special session for same sex marriage because you canít get domestic partnership through. If the New Mexico legislature handed you a marriage bill, would you sign it?
A: I am pushing the NM legislature very hard to expand domestic partnership. Itís a question of going through a path that is achievable.
Q: If the legislature hands you that piece of legislation, in your heart, where are you on that issue?
A: Well, you know, in my heart, Iím doing what is achievable. And Iím not there yet. And the country isnít there yet. New Mexico isnít there yet. We have to bring the country on. We have to move in the direction of making this happen. That doesnít mean that Iím closed on this issue. It means that you do what is achievable.
A: Itís a choice.
Q: I donít know if you understand the question. Do you think a homosexual is born that way, or do you think that around seventh grade we go, ďOoh, I want to be gayĒ?
A: Well, Iím not a scientist. I donít see this as an issue of science or definition. I see gays and lesbians as people as a matter of human decency. I donít like to categorize people. I donít like to answer definitions like that, that perhaps are grounded in science or something else that I donít understand.
Q: Well, itís hard when you are a citizen of a country that tells you that you are making a choice when you were born that way.
A: As a Hispanic, I grew up with people thinking because of my darker skin and because I wasnít fully speaking English at a time, that I was not equal. So I understand that issue of inequality, and so across the board Iíve always felt that every human being desires the same rights.
KUCINICH: Yes. Gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender [people] should have the same rights as anyone else, including a civil marriage ceremony.
Q: [to Dodd]: You supported the Defense of Marriage Act.
DODD: [Same-sex couples] ought to have civil unions. But I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.
RICHARDSON: I would do what is achievable. What I think is achievable is full civil unions with full marriage rights. I would also press for a hate crimes act in the Congress. I would eliminate ďdonít ask/donít tellĒ in the military. If weíre going to have in our military men & women that die for this country, we shouldnít give them a lecture on their sexual orientation I would push for domestic partnership laws, nondiscrimination in insurance and housing. I would also send a very strong message that, in my administration, I will not tolerate any discrimination on the basis of race, gender, or sexual orientation.
A: Leading on the issues of race is about being authentic, about speaking honestly. Race is a major issue in this country, and the next president has to talk about it. Race is not just passing new laws. Race is not just naming solid Supreme Court justices. Race is also dealing with bigotry and racism that exists in this country.
And I believe very strongly that the next president is not just going to have to pass laws and take the steps necessary to reaffirm affirmative action and take steps to make sure that our schools are integrated, but also the next president is going have to lead and speak passionately about a dialogue among all people.
And I believe very strongly that issues of diversity, for me, the first Latino to run for president, arenít talking points; theyíre facts of life.
|Other governors on Civil Rights:||Bill Richardson on other issues:|
Newly seated 2010:
NJ Chris Christie
VA Bob McDonnell
Term-limited as of Jan. 2011:
AL Bob Riley
CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
GA Sonny Perdue
HI Linda Lingle
ME John Baldacci
MI Jennifer Granholm
NM Bill Richardson
OK Brad Henry
OR Ted Kulongoski
PA Ed Rendell
RI Donald Carcieri
SC Mark Sanford
SD Mike Rounds
TN Phil Bredesen
WY Dave Freudenthal
Newly Elected Nov. 2010:
AL: Robert Bentley (R)
CA: Jerry Brown (D)
CO: John Hickenlooper (D)
CT: Dan Malloy (D)
FL: Rick Scott (R)
GA: Nathan Deal (R)
HI: Neil Abercrombie (D)
IA: Terry Branstad (R)
KS: Sam Brownback (R)
ME: Paul LePage (R)
MI: Rick Snyder (R)
MN: Mark Dayton (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
NM: Susana Martinez (R)
NV: Brian Sandoval (R)
NY: Andrew Cuomo (D)
OH: John Kasich (R)
OK: Mary Fallin (R)
PA: Tom Corbett (R)
RI: Lincoln Chafee (I)
SC: Nikki Haley (R)
SD: Dennis Daugaard (R)
TN: Bill Haslam (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WY: Matt Mead (R)