Saturday, June 27, 2015

Little Steps

Here is an old Journal story from April of 2000 on one of the many little steps taken to get us where we are today with the Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage.  I took all sorts of hell from the republicans on the city council and religious extremists for this action.

The GOP is still whining about not being able to stay in the past.  I am proud of this action and saw it as one of my major executive orders.  A lot of credit goes to the gay community in Albuquerque back then.  Especially my communications officer at the time, Brian Morris.

Later that year I served as the first Mayor to ever ride, as grand marshall, in the gay pride parade in Albuquerque.

 Edition--Final Date--04/12/2000 Page--A1 
 City To Insure Domestic Partners 
 Olivier Uyttebrouck Journal Staff Writer 

 Albuquerque plans to extend insurance benefits in July to unmarried domestic partners of city employees. 
 Mayor Jim Baca quietly approved the policy in an order he signed March 8. 
 "It will give insurance coverage to many people and children who don't have it," Baca said Tuesday. "Why would anybody not want those folks to have insurance?" 
 The policy also will help Albuquerque stay competitive with other large employers that offer insurance benefits to their workers' partners, he said. Area employers that offer similar benefits include US West and the University of New Mexico. 
 City officials estimate the extended health insurance will raise the city's premiums 1 percent, or about $185,000 a year. The city pays 80 percent of premium costs for most employees. 
 Councilor Greg Payne said Tuesday he opposes extending city benefits to people who are not married. 
 "There isn't enough money in the budget to put enough cops on the street to answer 911 calls, but we magically find money to benefit domestic partners," Payne said. 
 Payne also said Baca should have brought the issue before the City Council and the public because some will find it offensive. 
 "It's going to have a financial impact on the city, and he has an obligation to bring it before the council," Payne said. 
 Councilor Mike McEntee said he objects to the policy on moral and fiscal grounds. 
 "This is the kind of thing that breaks down the fabric of the family," McEntee said. Unmarried couples "don't have the commitment to get married, but they want you and me to pay for their benefits." 
 Baca responded that councilors would reveal themselves as intolerant if they introduce a bill forbidding the city from extending benefits to unmarried partners of city employees. 
 "To me, that would be promoting discrimination and bigotry," Baca said. Baca also said the City Charter gives him the authority to make administrative decisions, including those regarding employee insurance benefits. 
 City officials said they don't know how many employees will take advantage of the new benefit. Under the new policy, partners must have lived together at least 12 months. The policy will apply to heterosexual and same-sex relationships. 
 Employees who want benefits for their partners will be asked to fill out an "affidavit of partnership." They must produce at least three documents, such as a joint lease or mortgage, a joint bank or brokerage account or a joint automobile registration, showing they "share financial responsibility" for each other. 
 If approved, the employee's partner would be eligible for health and dental insurance coverage and optional supplemental life insurance. The employee also would be eligible to use city leave to attend to a sick partner or attend a funeral. 
 Valerie Santillanes, spokeswoman for US West, said the company began offering insurance benefits to same-sex partners of employees in 1998. But the company doesn't offer the extended benefits to heterosexual partners because, unlike same-sex couples, they have the option of getting married, she said. 
 That policy led the New Mexico branch of the Christian Coalition to file a complaint with the state Public Regulation Commission in March. The Christian Coalition argued that US West has no right to seek a rate increase while spending money on insurance benefits for same-sex partners of employees. 
 PHOTO: Color 
 BACA: "Why would anybody not want those folks to have insurance?"


Anonymous said...

And what happened to Greg Payne and Mike McAntee? Payne went on to become a State Senator for one term and later worked for the City as Director of Transportation getting government benefits, got arrested for aggravated DWI and was run out of the Republican Party and is now a Democrat in his 3rd year of law school and heavily in debt! McAntee ran as a Republican for Mayor in violation of the Hatch Act because he was an Air Traffic Controller, also getting government benefits and insurance, and was disciplined and almost lost his Federal Job. Carma has been a bitch to these one time rising stars in the Republican party and I would say you will be at least remembered as a Mayor that did the right thing when it came to providing benefits to same sex couples.

Anonymous said...


Bubba Muntzer said...

Not to rain on the parade of good cheer everyone's enjoying but this story highlights the problem with identity politics, and the Democratic Party's use of it.

I pose two questions. !. Why is it left to Jim Baca to tell his own story of tolerance and courage? 2. Where were the people who this executive order helped and who proudly marched behind the first mayor to grand marshall a gay pride parade when the next election came around?

I read an account awhile back about a young gay activist who was handing out literature in an upscale neighborhood in San Francisco that's been gentrified, by, in large part, gay couples. A working class person can no longer afford to live in San Francisco, in case you haven't heard. This young kid was run out of there. Gay professionals and gay business owners didn't want some hippie looking leftist hanging around their nice neighborhood.

Democrats pander to well off gays, feminists -- anyone, as long as they aren't challenging the established economic order. Meanwhile they are pushing policies that have left the US with wealth inequality that now exceeds that of the storied Golden Age of robber barons and of economic inequality that led to the Great Depression as peoples' buying power collapsed.

Gay rights advocates and women's rights advocates and other identity politics adherents -- and god bless them because they do have legitimate issues -- do not see themselves as part of any larger struggle and could care less in many cases about people below them in socio-economic rank. These groups want what they want and to hell with anyone else, just like it was to hell with Jim Baca in the next election.

Give me an instance of someone saying, 'OK, now that we've got gay marriage, or, now that women's reproductive health rights are more secure by way of the ACA, on to other problems like stopping this onerous TPP treaty or stopping the massacre of young black people by the police. How can we use of newly won privileges to build solidarity among all oppressed people?' I don't hear it myself.

Anonymous said...

To Bubba Muntzer: YOU CAN TELL YOU HAVE NEVER RUN FOR OR HELD ELECTED OFFICE. People could careless about promoting others for courage and past support. Sadly, in politics, it is what have you done for me lately. Once people get what they want, they move on to other issues and politicians should never expect gratitude and should instead get satisfaction in doing the right thing.

Anonymous said...

You are for Gay Rights and you don't believe in God. Sad very sad...

Anonymous said...

the bush family has aircraft carriers named after them. they kill and get remembered.

Jim Baca said...

I am for Gay Rights and I don't believe in god and I am very happy.

Anonymous said...

Jim these "disgusted with the Supreme Court justices" are the same ones who applauded these same justices that opened the the door for unlimited campaign contributions. They only hate when decisions don't go their way. I remember all these republicans lineing up to shake the hands of the" Courageous Supreme Court" that changed campaign limits and now they say " we don't have to abide by what what five non elected judges say". How soon we forget!!