Las Crucens rally in support of gay couples' rights
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — The Las Cruces chapter for Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays held a rally Thursday afternoon at Albert Johnson Park in response to the on-going debate regarding gay couples' rights.
The PFLAG rally comes after the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in two cases involving equality for same sex couples.
"It is about time," said Las Cruces PFLAG President Carrie Hamblen. "I want to marry my girlfriend and I'd like to get the 1138 rights that are available at the federal level."
The supreme court heard a case involving the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA, which denies government benefits to gay and lesbian married couples.
Hamblen said she's been a hard working tax paying citizen but the rights heterosexual couples receive are not extended to her.
"My social security that I've been paying into since I was 13 in El Paso goes to no one if I die," Hamblen said. That's a problem."
Hamblen added with the cases being heard at the highest level it has created a level of awareness that has gone viral.
Millions took part in a Facebook campaign for equality by changing their profile pictures to an equals sign on a red background.
The support has also been seen in all levels of government.
"I'm not going to sell out any human rights of any amongst us just to get elected," said State Representative Jeff Steinborn.
Steinborn was just one the many elected representatives in attendance.
Senator Mary Kay Papen, Las Cruces City Councilor Nathan Small, Las Cruces Mayor Pro Tem Sharon Thomas and County Commissioner Billy Garrett were also present.
Councilors Greg Smith and Miguel Silva also said they supported the cause but were unable to attend the rally.
"We've never felt this amount of support so I'm very hopeful that a lot of good will come out of it," said Ryan Steinmetz.
Among the supporters was also Daniel Basaldua, a married family man from Las Cruces.
"It's ridiculous to say that it's 2013 and the fact we are still fighting for this," Basaldua said.
Basaldua said he has several gay friends who are just like everybody else and deserve the same rights as he and his wife have.
"It should be for everybody," Basaldua said. "It should be for all humans it doesn't matter orientation."