House OKs bill to ease gender changes on birth certificates

A statue outside the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.

Heath Haussamen /

A statue outside the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.

After a rancorous debate, the House of Representatives sent the governor a bill that would make it easier for transgendered people to change the gender listed on their birth certificate. The vote was 36-26.

State law already allows New Mexicans to change the gender shown on their birth certificates if they undergo a sex-change operation. Under Senate Bill 120, sponsored by Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, transgendered people could seek the certificate change with a sworn recommendation of a licensed medical or mental health professional, regardless of whether they have undergone surgery.

Some House Republicans derided the bill during floor debate Thursday night.

Rep. Dennis Roch, R-Logan, offered a parody with an amendment that would also allow New Mexicans to change the date of birth on their certificates. The chamber shot down the idea with even Roch voting against it.

And other GOP lawmakers said the House should have been addressing what they viewed as more pressing matters, such as passing a budget.

As debate dragged on, some Democrats accused Republicans of crossing a line from critiquing policy to ridiculing people.

“This evening I watched as Republicans mocked transgender people on the House floor,” Rep. Matthew McQueen, D-Galisteo, wrote on Twitter, “and I’m still saddened by the spectacle.”

The bill carried with support from a handful of Republicans, including Reps. Zach Cook, Jim Dines and Jim Smith.

This article comes from The Santa Fe New Mexican. is paying for the rights to publish articles about the 2017 legislative session from the newspaper. Help us cover the cost by making a donation to

This BBSNews article was syndicated from, and written by Heath Haussamen, Read the original article here.

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