Many Fear LGBTQ+ Rights Are On the Midterm Ballot
Monday, October 24, 2022
In the past few years, the LGBTQ community has watched hard-won rights erode, and many fear the worst is yet to come, based on the outcome of the midterms.
From Florida's so-called "Don't Say Gay" legislation to approved investigations of parents of transgender youths in Texas, states have passed laws to undermine the rights of countless Americans.
Marshall Martinez, executive director of Equality New Mexico, said the outsized reaction is frightening.
"We're sitting in, from what I can tell, one of the most dangerous times for LBGTQ people since the '60s and earlier," Martinez contended. "In terms of attacks and folks feeling like they have to go back into the closet and young people facing mental-health crises."
In overturning constitutional protections for abortion, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggested the courts should also look at the 2015 case legalizing gay marriage.
In New Mexico, Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has consistently advocated for LGBTQ rights, faces Republican Mark Ronchetti, a former TV weatherman, on next month's ballot. Ronchetti does not address gay rights on his website, and has not shared his views publicly.
Martinez feels at a minimum, such candidates do not think the LGBTQ community is important enough to talk about, or worse, they do not want their views known.
"We think that LGBTQ folks in New Mexico deserve to know where the candidates stand on our issues," Martinez asserted. "We're clear where this governor stands, but we have no idea where her opponent stands."
Martinez believes with people just coming out of the pandemic and now struggling with economic issues, many want someone to blame, and the LGBTQ community is a convenient target.
"And I think that it is easy to scapegoat, especially LGBTQ folks and the teachers and guidance counselors who are supporting us," Martinez pointed out. "This creates an opportunity for people to be distracted from what's really making their lives difficult."
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