Legislators endorse domestic partner bill

CARSON CITY — Same- and opposite-sex couples could secure domestic partnership contracts giving them the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual married couples under a bill that received overwhelming support today in the Assembly.

But the 26-14 vote for Senate Bill 283 fell two votes short of the 28 that will be needed in the coming weeks to override a promised veto from Gov. Jim Gibbons.

Earlier today, the bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, said he believes he now has the two votes he needs in the Senate to override Gibbons’ veto. The bill passed the Senate on a 12-9 vote last month.

Based on the Assembly vote, Parks — the only admitted homosexual member of the Legislature — also needs a couple more votes in the Assembly.

In a related issue today, the Assembly also voted 37-3 for Senate Bill 207 that would outlaw discrimination in public accommodations based on one’s sexual orientation. The bill previously was approved 19-2 in the Senate.

Lodging, restaurant and gaming lobbyists testified for the bill during hearings.

Gibbons reiterated today that he will veto the domestic partnership bill once it reaches his desk. That won’t come before sometime in the next two weeks after the Senate is expected to approve Assembly-passed amendments that Parks added in an attempt to win more support.

One of those amendments specifies that companies are not required, but can voluntarily choose, to offer health care benefits to the domestic partners of their workers.

The domestic partnership bill won Assembly approval after emotional speeches by members Ellen Spiegel, D-Henderson, and Sheila Leslie, D-Reno.

Spiegel said the bill isn’t just for gay couples. It also would allow heterosexual couples to become domestic partners.

She mentioned she secured a domestic partnership when she lived in Santa Monica, Calif., so she could move into an apartment with her boyfriend rather than pay inflated rent in the apartment where she was living. A few months later, they married.

Earlier in her life, Spiegel said she lived with a man who suddenly died at age 40. Since the home was in his name, police told her she had to leave quickly after he died. She had no legal right to anything.

“I was told to get my toothbrush and leave out water and food for the cats since they were padlocking the door,” she said.

In her “gayborhood,” Leslie said there are many nice, committed gay couples, including one that includes the father of her child. They should have the same right as married couples, she said.

Leslie said she sees the bill “in the great tradition of Nevada libertarianism. I think our state motto should be ‘Live and Let Live.’ In Nevada, government should not intrude in our lives.”

But Assemblyman Ty Cobb, R-Reno, said gay couples can secure inheritance, hospital visitation, end-of-life decision and other rights through private contracts.

He said he opposes the bill because it goes against the intentions of Nevada voters who passed the Protection of Marriage constitutional amendment in 2002. That amendment specifies a marriage can be only between a man and a woman.

Cobb said SB283 supporters received an opinion from legislative lawyers that a domestic partnership is not the same as a marriage as defined by the constitutional amendment.

But he still said he believe the bill is in “direct conflict” with that amendment.

Although speaking out against domestic partnerships, Cobb strongly voiced support for the bill forbidding discrimination against gays and other people in public accommodations.

Nevada is a state that prides itself on “personal freedom,” said Cobb about SB207, and the bill will become the law that allows everyone “to enjoy the personal freedom Nevada has to offer.”

In an interview, American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada Director Gary Peck praised the substantial vote for the domestic partnership bill, but added his organization is disappointed it is short of the number needed to override a veto.

“I hope everyone has considered the possible consequences of this bill ending up in a trash bin at the end of the session,” he said.

“What people do in their bedrooms is their business.”

Peck said the ACLU worked three sessions on outlawing discrimination in public accommodations and could not be more thrilled by the vote for SB207 in both houses.

Under SB283, a gay or heterosexual couple would pay a fee to the secretary of state and receive a one-page domestic partnership contract.

They would not have to solemnize their partnership with any ceremony, although the bill does not forbid them from taking that step voluntarily.

Four states now allow same-sex marriage. Nine states and numerous municipalities permit domestic partnerships, including California. Parks drew up his bill based on the agreements in California and Colorado.

Every Democrat except Mo Denis of Las Vegas and Marilyn Kirkpatrick of North Las Vegas voted for the bill.

Of the 14 Republicans, only Ed Goedhart of Amargosa Valley voted for it. Assembly members Jerry Claborn, D-Las Vegas, and John Carpenter, R-Elko, were absent.

Since Claborn likely will vote to override a Gibbons’ veto, pressure is expected to be placed on Kirkpatrick and Denis to change their votes.

Contact reporter Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.

Tate Elementary shows academic progress after categorical funding
Students at Tate Elementary in Las Vegas has benefited from a program to boost education funding in targeted student populations, known as categorical funding. One program called Zoom helps students who have fallen below grade level in reading. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Three Square helps TSA workers
Three Square Food Bank donated over 400 care bags to TSA workers affected by the government shutdown Wednesday, filled with food, personal hygiene products and water.
Las Vegas furniture store donates to Clark County firehouses
Walker Furniture donated new mattresses to all 30 Clark County firehouses in the Las Vegas Valley, starting today with Station 22. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Naft sworn in to Clark County Commission
Michael Naft, chosen by Gov. Steve Sisolak to be his replacement on the Clark County Commission, was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dyer Lawrence explains college football playoff system proposal
Las Vegan Dyer Lawrence has a new idea for a college football playoff system that includes a unique scheduling component called National Call Out Day. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death row inmate Scott Dozier found dead in his cell
Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier is dead. Dozier’s death ends his legal odyssey, which began in 2007 when he was convicted in the 2002 murder of Jeremiah Miller, but does little to clarify what’s next for Nevada’s death penalty.
I-15 southbound near Primm closed after ‘major crash’
A rollover crash Saturday morning involving at least nine vehicles on southbound Interstate 15 near Primm caused an hourslong traffic delay. Traffic was backed up to Sloan, live traffic cameras show. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death Valley visitors deal with shutdown
Visitors staying at the Furnace Creek Campground were forced to move from the campground following health and safety concerns due to lack of resources during the partial government shutdown at Death Valley National Park in Calif., on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Richard Brian Las Vegas Review-Journal @vegasphotograph
Half of homicides in Henderson for 2018 domestic violence related
Lt. Kirk Moore of the public information office of the city of Henderson police department speaks to the Review-Journal in Henderson, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Henderson saw a slight increase in homicides in the past year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak stops by Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak kicks off his tour to Carson City, which will take him from Las Vegas, through Tonopah, and up to the capital city. First stop is the Downtown Boys & Girls Club.
Certificates for renewing wedding vows in Clark County
The Marriage License Bureau in Clark County began issuing a Certificate of Vow Renewal to married couples who are renewing their wedding vows on Jan. 3, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas flu season better than last year (so far)
Dr. Fermin Leguen, chief medical officer and director of clinical services at the Southern Nevada Health District, said there were 24 flu-related deaths at this point in the flu season. No deaths have been reported so far this year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Las Vegas Valley’s First Baby of 2019
The first 2019 baby in the Las Vegas Valley was Melialani Chihiro Manning, born at 12:10 a.m. at Henderson Hospital. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Sources: Henderson Constable may face more charges
Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell may face additional charges ... stemming from his spending of county funds, sources said. Mitchell was indicted earlier this month on five felony theft and fraud charges ... after a Las Vegas Review-Journal story questioned his spending. But grand jury records show even more extensive spending including ... an $800 dinner at steakhouse ... nearly 200 atm withdrawals mostly at gambling establishments ... and even Disneyland tickets. But his attorney plans to ask a judge to dismiss the charges.
Las Vegas NYE Restrictions and Enhanced Security
If you are planning to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street, be aware that you are not allowed to bring backpacks, coolers, strollers or glass. There will also be an increase in security to ensure safe celebrations across town.
Catholic Charities serves up 53rd annual Christmas dinner
Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and more than 100 volunteers served 1,000 Christmas meals to Southern Nevada's homeless and less fortunate. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @kmcannonphoto)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jeffrey Martin Added To Nevada's Black Book
Martin was one of four men convicted of theft and cheating at gambling in 2016 in Clark County District Court and sentenced to prison. The Nevada Gaming Commission voted unanimously Thursday to include Martin in the black book.
Raiders Stadium Timelapse
Construction on the new Raiders stadium continues in Las Vegas.
Buffalo Wild Wings security video
Security footage from a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in southwest Las Vegas captured a driver who repeatedly crashed into a vehicle in a failed attempt to squeeze into a tight parking spot.
The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
Opportunity Village's Magical Forest added 1 million lights and a synchronized music show visible from all over the forest this year. The holiday attraction, which began in 1991, has a train, rides, food and entertainment along with the light displays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like