Dec. 20 First News: New Mexico Becomes 17th U-S State To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage (Listen)

Dec 20, 2013

  The New Mexico Supreme Court unanimously affirmed on Thursday the right of same-sex partners to marry, reasoning that the “protections and responsibilities that result from the marital relationship shall apply equally” to them and to opposite-sex couples. With the ruling, which takes effect immediately, New Mexico becomes one of 17 states and the District of Columbia to permit same-sex marriage.

Photographs of Wednesday night’s wrong-way drunken driving crash on I-25 near the St. Francis Drive exit tell a horrific story. The photos, released to the media, are available on the Santa Fe Police Department’s Facebook page. 52-year old Joe Salazar faces charges of aggravated DWI, reckless driving and having an open container inside his vehicle. Salazar is charged with injuring three people who were traveling northbound on the highway. The wreck caused the closure of the freeway for nearly seven hours. Investigators believe Salazar was drunk when he caused the head-on crash. Police found an empty bottle of vodka in the vehicle, but have not confirmed if it was consumed that evening.

For anti-DWI advocates including the New Mexico chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD, the news of Wednesday’s crash is too familiar. Ben Lewinger is executive director of the state’s MADD chapter: *****Dec. 20 Lewinger-1  :21***** Lewinger says MADD is asking for extra vigilance during the holiday season and to commit to not drink and drive. A tip was reported to the state’s Drunk Busters line (#DWI) just before the accident. A caller reported a similar was driving erratically in the city.  SFPD spokeswoman Celina Westervelt says as a result of that call, several police agencies were searching for the driver. *****Dec. 20 Westervelt-2  :09***** SFPD spokeswoman Celina Westervelt.

New Mexico’s top lawyer—Attorney General Gary King—is suing the Roswell-based Valley Meat Company in an attempt to block its plans to open a horse slaughterhouse on New Year’s Day. The move comes after a federal appeals court dismissed a court order that had kept Valley Meat from operating. The state is seeking a restraining order to keep the plant idle. King contends that Valley Meat has the potential to violate food safety laws. Valley Meat and other plants in the Midwest have been targeted by animal protection groups trying to block the slaughtering of horses.

A New Mexico State Senator will sponsor a legislative effort to get politics out of education. Michael Padilla is a Democrat and member of the Senate Education Committee. His proposal calls for eliminating the Secretary of Education position, and would create a non-partisan State Board of Public Education and calls for the creation of a state superintendent of public education hired by the board. Padilla says Senate Joint Resolution Two would place public education in the hands of education professionals.*****Dec. 20 Padilla-1  :09***** New Mexico voters in 2004 approved a Constitutional amendment giving the governor oversight of public education.

Tomorrow’s Winter Solstice is the subject of a celebration at Leasburg Dam State Park north of Las Cruces. Park Ranger Alex Mares says the public is invited to witness the natural phenomenon of “turning back the sun:”*****Dec. 20 Mares-1  :14***** Mares says the solstice event begins at 11:00 a.m. and ends at 10:00 p.m. tomorrow.

Santa Fe Weather: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 41 and a 20 percent chance of snow showers. Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 24 and a 30 percent chance of snow showers with snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible. Tomorrow: Partly sunny, with a high near 34 and a 20 percent chance of snow showers.