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Gay rights advocacy group sues Nevada

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April 14, 2012

By: Stephan Burklin

Nevada law under fire

CARSON CITY, Nevada: A national gay rights advocacy group expanded its state-by-state push to legalize same-sex marriage by filing a lawsuit in Nevada challenging state law that prohibits gay and lesbian couples from wedding.[1]

The lawsuit initiated by the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund targets both a domestic partnership law and a constitutional amendment on the grounds that they lead to unequal rights. It seeks to void the constitutional ban, claiming that eight same-sex couples are being discriminated against because they aren’t allowed to marry.

In a conversation with the Associated Press, Tara Borelli, a Los Angeles-based Lambda Legal attorney said that the state needed to change its laws. "Nevada already gives same-sex couples the rights and responsibilities of family, parenting and relationships. What is the reason for not giving them the one word that says it all?"[2]

The civil lawsuit alleges that state legislators established a "selective bar to access to marriage" with the 2009 domestic partnership law that was passed over a veto by then-Gov. Jim Gibbons (R).

Many of the couples joining the suit had already obtained marriage licenses in other states, but found their marriages were no longer recognized after making their home in Nevada.

One of the plaintiffs, Kaite Miller, told KTNV News that she and her partner were "excited to become Nevada residents, but to have our marriage not be recognized was heartbreaking for us, especially now that we’re on the threshold of being parents."[1]

Jennifer Lopez, a spokeswoman for Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D) said that the state will review the filings and decide how to proceed.

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