September 11, 2012
By Jacob Combs
The Las Vegas Sun reports that Nevada Assemblyman Elliot Anderson will introduce a bill in the next legislative session, which begins in February, that would overturn the constitutional amendment banning marriage equality that the state passed in 2002. The 2002 amendment was approved with 67 percent of the vote, but Anderson argues that Nevadans’ opinions have changed in the intervening 10 years: “All people are created equal and we must make sure our constitution is not sideways on that issue.”
Anderson’s bill would have to pass the Nevada state legislature in its 2013 session and then be approved by a popular vote. In 2009, Nevada established a domestic partnership law over the veto of then-Gov. Jim Gibbons, which provides “the same rights, protections and benefits” as heterosexual spouses and affords gay and lesbian couples the “same right to nondiscriminatory treatment as provided spouses.” Since 2009, 3,887 couples have entered into domestic partnerships in Nevada.
In addition to Anderson’s planned bill, Nevada’s marriage laws are facing a federal constitutional challenge in the case of Sevcik v. Sandoval, which we’ve been covering here at P8TT. The Sevcik case has many similarities to the Prop 8 case, and could eventually be a highly significant case moving forward if the Supreme Court decides against rehearing the Prop 8 decision, as many legal observers expect it to. If the Prop 8 case is limited to California only, it will fall to a future legal challenge to establish marriage equality as a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution. Sevcik, like similar cases in the works in Hawaii, Michigan and Illinois, could be that landmark case several years from now.
The district court hearing the Lambda Legal-led Sevcik challenge, will hold a hearing on Nov. 26 to consider a motion by Nevada to dismiss the suit. P8TT will provide coverage of that hearing when it occurs in Reno.