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January 25, 2015

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Nevada’s ban on same-sex marriage to be challenged

CARSON CITY — Nevada’s constitution banning same-sex marriage will be coming under attack from two sides in the coming months.

Assemblyman Elliot Anderson, D-Las Vegas, has asked that a bill be drawn to wipe out the constitutional prohibition passed by the voters in 2000 and 2002.

His legislation will be introduced after the Legislature convenes in February.

Separately, a hearing is set for federal court in Reno in November on a suit filed by eight same-sex couples who want marriage equality.

The proposed platform of the national Democrat Party, meeting this week in Charlotte, N.C., supports equal treatment for same-sex marriages.

Chris Miller, a delegate to the convention and the first openly gay person elected chair of the Clark County Democratic Party, said the platform shows the party cares about the Constitution and about freedom.

Nevada voters in 2000 first approved a proposed constitutional amendment limiting marriage to between men and women by a vote of 69.6 percent to 30.3 percent. The final vote in 2002 favoring the prohibition was 67 percent to 33 percent.

Anderson’s bill would start the ball rolling to eliminate the ban. It would have to pass the 2013 session of the Legislature and then be approved by the voters.

Anderson said he believes people have changed their minds since 2000 and 2002. “People are thinking differently,” he said. But he doesn’t know if the measure will be passed by the Legislature.

“All people are created equal and we must make sure our constitution is not sideways on that issue,” said Anderson, who attends law school. “We want to give them (the voters) an opportunity to pass judgment.”

A suit has been filed by eight same-sex couples in federal court asserting that everyone has the right to marry.

Tom Warnke, public information officer for Lambda Legal, the group that prepared the legal challenge, said a hearing is set for Nov. 26 on a motion by the state to dismiss the suit. There is also a motion for a summary judgment in favor of Lambda Legal to be argued.

The Legislature in 2009 overrode the veto of Gov. Jim Gibbons to create a domestic partnership law. Same-sex couples who are at least 18 years old may register with the Secretary of State’s Office.

The law says those couples “have the same rights, protections and benefits and are subject to the same responsibilities, obligations and are granted and imposed on spouses.”

They have the “same right to nondiscriminatory treatment as provided spouses.”

Since the law went into effect in 2009, 3,887 couples have filed for domestic partnerships.

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  1. First, it is doubtful that Anderson's Bill can pass the Legislature. I also doubt that the voters will approve it as well. The country has moved more to the conservative side in the past couple of years and I think that Nevada has moved that way as well.

  2. It would be a great boost to the State's tourism to have that ban knocked out, by any means necessary.

  3. Ahhhh... the Conservative Hypocrisy: Government can't tell us what to do, unless it's preventing the gays from marrying.

  4. "The law says those couples "have the same rights, protections and benefits and are subject to the same responsibilities, obligations and are granted and imposed on spouses."

    Ryan -- good article.

    "Put it to the voters and we will decide."

    chuck333 -- that equality under the law is up to the voters is an illusion. It's guaranteed by both Constitutions, and government is bound to honor it.

    "First, it is doubtful that Anderson's Bill can pass the Legislature. I also doubt that the voters will approve it as well."

    itsumo -- good points. The legislature on its own does not have the authority to change the Constitution. As for the voters, it's not up to them, so that's what the lawsuit should accomplish.

    "Why not allow same sex marriages?"

    daveinthebox -- that's the fallacy of marriage licensing, that government gets to approve it. Technically this group of our fellow citizens have always had the freedom to marry. Hopefully the court does its job and marriage equality is righteously adjudged.

    "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." -- George Orwell's "Animal Farm" (1945)

  5. It would TRIPLE tourist business if same sex couples could marry in Las Vegas. Homosexuals enjoy a lavish lifestyle, and Las Vegas is the Home of Lavish!

    Next, we should legalize marijuana, and the combined increase in income, and the people it would bring would put Las Vegas back on the top Tourist destination, oh yea, we have gambling too!


  6. Anyone who thinks we can "regulate" marriage must first deal with the tax code. For as long as there is a government-endorsed financial benefit to "marriage", any form of regulation must not deny that financial benefit--to singles, same-sex...if any of those discriminated against financially cares to pursue the issue in court. IN OTHER WORDS, you want to define marriage your way, GET IT OUT OF THE TAX CODE.