Monday, March 16, 2009 | 4:10 p.m.
CARSON CITY -- Gay couples could have the same rights and responsibilities as married couples, under a bill introduced in the state Senate.
Senate Bill 283, sponsored by Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, calls for a new type of civil contract for domestic partnerships, under which domestic partners would have the same rights, protections and benefits as spouses, former spouses, widows or widowers.
Parks, who is gay, said Monday, “A domestic partnership is a social contract between two persons who have chosen to share one another’s lives in an intimate and committed relationship.” It is not a marriage as defined in the Nevada Constitution.
These domestic partners would register with the Secretary of State. They would be required to file proof with the Secretary of State they have a common residence, neither is married, are not related by blood, must be at least 18 years old and competent to consent to the domestic partnership.
“Domestic partners have the same right to nondiscriminatory treatment as that provided to spouses,” says the bill.
Besides the benefits, there would be mutual responsibility for debts to third parties, the right to see financial support if the partners split up and the rights of community property.
Domestic partnerships could be dissolved through the filing of a form with the secretary of state.
A simplified split could be accomplished if the couple: was registered for five years or less; had no children; have no community property or the couple has agreed on a division of the property and the parties had waived or reached an agreement on financial support.
On the same day Parks’ bill was introduced, however, the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor delayed a hearing on Senate Bill 207 to give further protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation in public accommodation.
Current law allows a person who feels he has been discriminated against in public accommodation based on race, color, religion, national origin or disability to file a complaint with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission.
This bill would extend the right to file a complaint with the commission if the person feels he has been discriminated against based on sexual orientation.
Sen. Maggie Carlton, chairwoman of the committee, said there have been “some problems with what the bill is trying to accomplish.” She did not elaborate.
Cy Ryan may be reached at (775) 687 5032 or firstname.lastname@example.org.