CARSON CITY — Gov. Jim Gibbons said today that he would not sign the domestic partners bill that would give same-sex couples many of the same legal rights as married couples.
“I just don’t believe in it,” said Gibbons following a meeting of the state Board of Examiners.
The state Senate will vote in the next few days on Senate Bill 283, the domestic partnership bill. If the bill became law, same-sex couples would register their relationships with the secretary of state’s office.
Opposite-sex couples also would not be prohibited from registering as domestic partners.
Eight states and the District of Columbia now have domestic partnership laws.
The bill was introduced by Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas.
In an emotional hearing last month, a woman testified that she was quickly booted out of a hospital following the death of her long-time same-sex partner because she had no legal right to be there.
Another testified she and her long-time partner raised several children and now have grandchildren, but the state does not sanction their relationship.
Strong opposition to the bill was voiced by Richard Ziser, a Nevada Concerned Citizen lobbyist, who contended the bill was a move to circumvent the Protection of Marriage constitutional amendment.
That amendment, approved by 70 percent of voters, defines a marriage as being between a male and a female.
Gibbons noted that California voters recently rejected a ballot question to allow gay marriages in their state.
He said that domestic partnerships are essentially the same thing as marriages.
The governor added he has not yet read the language of Senate 207, a Parks proposal to prohibit discrimination in public accommodations against gays and lesbians.
Until he reviews this bill, also set for a vote in the Senate, he said he does not know whether he will sign or veto it.
Both bills were approved by the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.