Filed under: ENDA
By Scottie Thomaston
The state of Nevada is moving forward on pro-LGBT legislation. This week the state Assembly added gender identity and expression to its existing hate crimes legislation. The state’s Republican governor Brian Sandoval is expected to sign the bill:
Similar legislation passed in the state assembly during the last legislative session in 2011, only failing in the Senate. During that session, the legislature passed transgender inclusive non-discrimination legislation in housing, public accommodations and employment. Republican Governor Brian Sandoval signed all three pieces of legislation during the first year of his first term and is expected to sign this bill as well.
The bill passed overwhelmingly, with only one senator voting no last month, and a large number of House members voting for it this week:
The Assembly passed the measure on a 30-11 vote with only Republicans opposed. The bill already cleared the Senate and now heads to Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval.
“This does afford victims special rights,” said Assemblyman Andrew Martin, D-Las Vegas, who is openly gay. “This is a statement of what our society is, and that we will not tolerate the systematic targeting of individuals who are historically disadvantaged groups.”
Sandoval spokeswoman Mary-Sarah Kinner told The Associated Press Tuesday that the governor supports the legislation.
The bill, SB139, would add “gender identity or expression” to the list of motivations deemed to be hate crimes under state law. Supporters outlined in graphic detail several instances of the violent nature of crimes motivated by hate, saying the added protection would help deter more violent crimes.
As EqualityOnTrial recently reported, the state is also moving forward on marriage equality, albeit at a much slower pace. A constitutional amendment to replace the anti-gay marriage amendment would eventually be placed on the ballot in 2016, after it passes this legislative session and then gets through the Assembly again in 2015. With three weeks left in the session, the bill should pass quickly.
Activists in the state have been pursuing marriage equality there for years. The state’s domestic partnership law treats same-sex couples almost exactly the same as opposite-sex married couples, but same-sex couples are denied the title of marriage. That regime is seen as irrational, and it’s being challenged in federal court by Lambda Legal in Sevcik v. Sandoval, who believes the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage denies them equal protection of the laws. That case is on hold, though, pending the Supreme Court decisions in Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor. The district court had ruled against the plaintiffs, same-sex couples, and the case is on appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. But the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage, the proponents of the ballot initiative that amended the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, petitioned the Supreme Court to review the case before judgment at the appeals court. The plaintiffs oppose review at this stage. The Court hasn’t taken action on their petition and no other action is expected until the Court’s other rulings. The Sevcik case is expected to be heard on a parallel track with Hawaii’s marriage equality case, Jackson v. Abercrombie. The Ninth Circuit, which struck down Prop 8, seems like a more favorable court, so they may be inclined to strike down Nevada’s ban as well when it reaches them.
A recent poll showed majority support for the amendment to overturn the marriage equality far ahead of the 2016 election. Whether the courts strike the ban or voters invalidate it in 2016, things are progressing in Nevada.
- Minnesota’s state senate is expected to pass the marriage equality bill when it takes up the bill today.
- A story profiling the undecided GOP votes in Minnesota.
- Some conservative MPs in the UK are pushing a referendum on marriage equality in order to water down the current legislation.
- LGBT groups want President Obama to push for the inclusion of LGBT families in immigration reform.
- The New York Times editorial board is calling for passage of ENDA.
- The California Assembly passed two transgender rights bills last week.
- A new Pew Research poll says 70 per cent of young adults support marriage equality.
- Lawmakers in Minnesota who are supporting the marriage equality bill are considering a last-minute change to the bill, the addition of the word “civil” in front of “marriage”, in hopes of gaining the votes of legislators who might otherwise argue that religious institutions would be forced to perform same-sex marriages.
- In the UCLA Law Review, there are two notable articles on LGBT issues: Nan Hunter has written “Reflections on Sexual Liberty and Equality: “Through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall”“, and Douglas NeJaime has written “Framing (In)Equality for Same-Sex Couples”.
- In Pennsylvania, lawmakers have introduced two anti-discrimination bills aimed at protecting LGBT Pennsylvanians, this week. Think Progress notes that more than 70% of Pennsylvanians support these protections.
- The Advocate profiles some people who have been fired from their jobs for being LGBT, and explains the need for Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
- Buzzfeed spoke with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) about his views on LGBT issues like DOMA and ENDA, now that he has announced support for marriage equality. In response to a question about the criticism he received after announcing support for marriage equality only when his son came out, Portman said that he hadn’t thought much about marriage equality for same-sex couples before his son came out, but, he suggested, perhaps he should have.
- The Illinois GOP Chairman who recently announced his support for marriage equality has resigned from his position.