Monday, June 1, 2009

Nevada Has Domestic Partnerships Thanks to Legislature Veto Override

On Sunday night, the Nevada Assembly voted 28-14 with a bare minimum to override Gov. Jim Gibbons veto of the bill granting legal rights to domestic partnerships. This came shortly after the Senate, which voted 14-7.

The law takes effect on October 1. This will make Nevada the 17th state to recognize gay and lesbian relationships. The law will also recognize opposite sex couples wanting a domestic partnership.

Supporters, such as Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, who gave the only speech on the floor, called this a “historic vote for equality and justice.”

“This is the most important civil rights legislation we’ve had in all my years here and I am so happy and honored to be a part of it.” She said she knew it was “a struggle” for many legislators.

She said domestic partners “are not asking us to approve of their lives or how they live but they are asking us for respect. As citizens of this great state, they are asking that their government give them the ability to choose who they will live with and who they will love.”

Gary Peck, executive director of the ACLU in Nevada, said “this is a proud day in Nevada’s history. With its override, our Legislature has put our state on the right side of a growing movement to honor this country’s promise that every one of us is entitled to equal treatment under the law.”

In Nevada, domestic partners will have the rights granting community property responsibility for debt to third parties and the right to request financial assistance after a split. The bill says domestic partners have the same rights, protections and benefits that are ranged or imposed upon spouses.

The bill is very specific in stating that these relationships are not a marriage, which the Nevada constitution defines as can only be between a man and a woman through an amendment passed in 2002.

The governor, in his veto message, said the voters in 2002 felt “the right of marriage should apply only to married couples, only the voters should determine whether those rights should equally apply to domestic partners.”

Sen. David Parks, the openly gay sponsor of SB283, said it's "about fairness and equality," and that it doesn't diminish the sanctity of marriage.

Voting against the bill on Sunday were Republicans John Carpenter of Elko, Chad Christensen of Las Vegas, Tyrus Cobb of Reno, Heidi Gansert of Reno, Pete Goicoechea of Eureka, Tom Grady of Yerington, Don Gustavson of Sparks, John Hambrick of Las Vegas, Joe Hardy of Boulder City, Richard McArthur of Las Vegas, James Settelmeyer of Gardnerville, Lynn Stewart and Melissa Woodbury, both of Henderson.

One Democrat, Mo Denis of Las Vegas, voted to sustain the governor’s veto. Edwin Goedhart, a Republican from Amargosa Valley voted for the override.

ACTION: Contact the supporters and show them your gratitude for their support of LGBT relationships!

Senate Contact information.

Assembly Contact information.

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