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New Mexico Governor Signs Bill Prohibiting Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination

New Mexico Governor Signs Bill Prohibiting Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination
  • May 10, 2003

Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico has signed into law an amendment to the state's Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. There are now three states that extend anti-bias protection to gender identity and 14 states plus the District of Columbia that include sexual orientation as a protected category. The New Mexico law becomes effective July 1, 2003. The law defines "sexual orientation" as "heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality, whether actual or perceived."

The law also defines "gender identity" as "a person's self-perception, or perception of that person by another, of the person's identity as a male or female based upon the person's appearance, behavior or physical characteristics that are in accord with or opposed to the person's physical anatomy, chromosomal sex or sex at birth."

Employers operating in New Mexico should be aware of this expansion in the anti-discrimination law and take appropriate action to comply. At a minimum, covered employers should: 1) review and revise personnel policies and procedures to assure they do not conflict with the law's new requirements; 2) inform and train supervisors and managers, including recruitment personnel, on the requirements of the new law. The full text of the bill may be found at the State Legislature's website.

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