Grant Haertter is a married man, so, naturally, he had questions about whether he'd be able to enter into a domestic partnership with Carl Cottrell.
The twist is that Haertter is married to Cottrell -- they will celebrate their one-year anniversary Sunday -- but the wedding took place in California, and Nevada doesn't recognize gay marriage.
So does that mean Haertter and Cottrell aren't eligible for a domestic partnership, which would grant them benefits in Nevada?
"We didn't know if there was a snag or not," Haertter said. "But it was answered nicely. We shouldn't have any problems."
About 40 other same-sex couples were at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center on Sahara Avenue on Monday to discuss their own legal and personal concerns about domestic partnerships.
On hand to field their questions were Secretary of State Ross Miller; state Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, who wrote the domestic partnership bill; family law attorney Ishi Kunin; and representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada.
Tod Story, a board member of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center, said the event was organized to provide couples with information and legal advice before entering into a domestic partnership.
"We're trying to dispel concerns people might have," Story said. "So we put everyone in a room together that has a part to play in the process."
The state law to recognize domestic partnerships goes into effect Oct. 1, but about 350 early applications have been received, Miller said.
Early applications were allowed because of the number of couples expected to register. The final tally won't be known until pre-registration ends Sept. 24.
Miller said the concern so far from his office is that some forms are being improperly notarized and have to be rejected.
"It's not a great amount, but we have had to send some back," he said.
Couples were able to voice their opinions to the panel for more than an hour.
One of the concerns was hospital visitation rights, which the panel had little trouble answering.
As one of the chief benefits of the domestic partnership bill, partners will have full hospital visitation rights, as well as decision-making rights in the event of death.
This struck a particular chord with Story, who had heard more horror stories about hospitals than he cared to remember.
"There was a situation I heard where one partner in a relationship passed away, and every decision was made by the family the woman was estranged from," he said. "The person she chose to spend her life with had no decision in the process."
Some of the other major concerns were related to financial matters such as inheritance, the legal ramifications of a will or testament, and the responsibilities that come with buying property or a vehicle.
"It's (financially) pretty much like a marriage," said Maggie McLetchie, staff attorney with the ACLU. "If one partner buys a house, the second is assumed to be co-owner. Debt and property is shared."
McLetchie stressed that although domestic partnerships will be recognized in Nevada, they might not be recognized in states without domestic partnership laws or by the federal government.
"There are no Social Security benefits, and you don't file joint federal taxes. Other states don't have to recognize it," she said. "You won't be married, legally, in the government's eyes."
Because of the limitations, McLetchie said, she recommends partners hire a lawyer to draw up a power-of-attorney agreement in case their partner becomes ill in another state.
And while there are a significant number of rights that come with a domestic partnership, she cautions that there are an equal number of responsibilities and liabilities.
Do the research, she said.
"This is not something to take lightly," she said.
Haertter said he and Cottrell, who have been together 25 years, have seen many changes in the battle for their rights.
Their partnership is something they will cherish, but they don't expect to have a solemnization ceremony, they said -- they had that last year, in California.
"It's a lot of fun being on our team," Haertter said with a laugh, referring to the gay community.
"It keeps life interesting. Not always in a good way, but it's interesting."
Contact reporter Mike Blasky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0283.