Wednesday, April 8, 2009 | 6:18 p.m.
A bill to give same-sex couples the rights of married couples passed a key hurdle Wednesday, clearing a Senate committee by a 4-2 vote.
Senate Bill 283 would allow gay couples the right to enter into domestic partnerships, which would grant the same benefits to partners as married couples.
It now will have to clear the Senate floor, where Democrats hold a slim 12 to 9 majority over Republicans.
Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, sponsored the bill. He added an amendment Wednesday that exempts state and local government from being required to pay for domestic partner benefits.
Parks, Sen. Maggie Carlton, Sen. Mike Schneider, and Sen. Allison Copening, all Las Vegas Democrats, voted in support of the bill. Sen. Warren Hardy, R-Las Vegas and Sen. Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora, voted against the bill. Sen. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, was not present.
Gay marriage has been outlawed in Nevada since voters passed a constitutional amendment in consecutive elections, the second time in 2002.