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Monday, June 1, 2009

Nevada Gets Domestic Partnership Law

Map of same-sex unions in the United States from Wikipedia

That makes one-third of the states who now provide some form of recognition, weak or strong, to same-sex couples. The New York Times reports:
The Nevada Legislature voted into law a domestic partnership registry for same-sex and unmarried straight couples on Sunday evening, with the Assembly mustering the two-thirds vote required to override a veto by Gov. Jim Gibbons, a Republican.

The move makes Nevada the 17th state to recognize the relationships of gay men and lesbians, creating the registry with the secretary of state by which couples receive legal protections associated with marriage.

The State Senate voted to override the veto on Saturday.

The Nevada law does not require businesses to provide health benefits to the domestic partners of their employees.

“The significance here is it literally equates domestic partner with spouse under Nevada state law,” said Michael Ginsburg of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.

“You have the full force of the law behind you now,” Mr. Ginsburg said. “When you’re in the hospital, forced to make decisions for your partner, all you have to say is, ‘This is my spouse,’ and that carries tremendous weight.”

Proponents were able to persuade two members of both the Senate and the Assembly to switch sides since earlier votes. Many were pressured by executives for the casino industry, who feared a boycott by gay travelers.

Opponents, including the governor, argued that the law was unnecessary because gay couples could create legal contracts to provide most of the rights they would receive through the registry. They also pointed out that Nevada voters approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage earlier this decade.

Yet State Senator David R. Parks, a Las Vegas Democrat and the only openly gay elected official in Nevada, obtained legal opinions from legislative lawyers stating that the domestic partnership registry was not the equivalent of marriage.
Correction: The NYT reporter must have miscounted; I'm only seeing 15 states, plus the District of Columbia. We need two more states to get to a third of the Union; and 45 more states to get nationwide marriage equality, plus the repeal of DOMA at the federal level.


Doorman-Priest said...

More good news for sane people.

Russ Manley said...

Yes . . . still such a long way to go, though. I'm afraid it will take beyond my lifetime to get all 50 states in the right column, without a big push from the federal level.

Imagine if MLK and supporters had tried to end segregation and win civil rights only working state by state . . . trust me, the process would still be going on in these parts.

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