Pride flag causes controversy at New Mexico Roundhouse

New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A battle is brewing in the Roundhouse after a Pride flag hung up in the Rotunda by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, was taken down by a group of state lawmakers.

The flag was up outside the governor’s fourth-floor office facing the Rotunda for a couple of months. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says she displayed the flag as an acknowledgment of the rights all LGBTQ people are entitled to.

After a couple of months, however, the flag was taken down because the Legislative Council, which is a group of select lawmakers, never approved it. Raul Burciaga, the Director of Legislative Council for the Legislative Body as a whole, says anything on display in “public areas” must first be approved by the council.

Burciaga says he was asked to remove the flag by senators from both parties, including Mary Kay Papen. She says requesting for the flag to be taken down does not reflect her stance on the LGBTQ community. Instead, it was a matter of enforcing the rules.

Burciaga says back in 2012, they denied a request from then-governor Susana Martinez to hang photos of foster children on the walls. He says the walls are used specifically for art that they’ve collected from the Capitol Art Foundation, and if they allow one group to hang flags or banners, they’d have to say yes to them all.

The rules only apply to the “public places” in the Roundhouse. The flag has since been returned to the governor. She now has it on display in her office.

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