weather icon Clear

Same-sex marriage bill would alter Nevada Constitution language

CARSON CITY — Two years after federal courts legalized same-sex marriage, the Nevada Legislature is taking steps to remove contrary language from the state Constitution.

Assembly Joint Resolution 2 would rescind language approved by voters in 2000 and 2002 that defined marriage as between one man and one woman. Instead, it proposes new language reading Nevada “shall recognize marriage and issue marriage licenses to couples regardless of gender.” The measure further states that all legally valid marriages “must be treated equally under the law.”

Assemblyman Nelson Araujo, D-Las Vegas, presented the bill Tuesday to the Assembly Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections.

Nevada began issuing licenses to same-sex couples in October 2014 after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco struck down the state’s ban. As of last month, more than 10,000 marriage licenses have been issued in Clark County, home to the Las Vegas Strip and a global wedding tourism destination.

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage across the country in June 2015.

“Given the U.S. Supreme Court position … it only makes sense the Nevada Constitution reflect the law of the land,” Araujo said.

If approved in 2017, lawmakers would have to approve the bill again in 2019 to send it to voters in 2020 for ratification.

Supporters of the amendment also expressed fears that the highest court in the land could reverse its gay marriage position, a move that would return the issue to the states.

Karen Vibe and Karen Goody were the first gay couple to be married in northern Nevada’s Washoe County.

“We feel that marriage is a choice that every couple should have,’ Vibe testified. “Our wedding day was one of the happiest days of our life.”

But they worry about what may happen under the administration of President Donald Trump and a new Supreme Court justice.

“With the election of our new president, we feel that this advancement and rights are being threatened,” Vibe said.

Riley Roberts shared that sentiment.

“I love my family. And if we don’t pass this … Donald Trump could reverse the things we have,” said Roberts. He and his brother, Zachary, were raised by their mothers Pam Roberts and Gretchen Miller.

Opponents raised concerns that changing the constitution would infringe on religious liberties.

Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, questioned whether clergy could lose their license for not performing same-sex marriages. He also asked whether the amendment should address other marriage arrangements like polygamy.

“We continue to discriminate against that type of marriage,” Hansen said.

Others also raised religious objections.

“I feel that God defined what a marriage is … between a man and woman,” said John Wagner, with the Independent American Party.

No action was taken Tuesday by the committee.

Contact Sandra Chereb at schereb@reviewjournal.com. Follow @SandraChereb on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Las Vegas
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris castigated President Donald Trump’s merit-based immigration plan, saying it was “short-sighted” and overlooked the cultural significance of family, during a campaign stop in Las Vegas. “We cannot allow people to start parsing and pointing fingers and creating hierarchies among immigrants,” Harris told Asian Pacific Islander leaders at a Chinatown restaurant, one of two appearances she made Thursday.
The Right Take New Education Funding Plan - VIDEO
On Monday, Senate Education Committee chair Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, released a new education funding formula. For years, many Democrat politicians have criticized the current education funding formula, called the Nevada Plan. They claim it’s old and outdated. Their biggest beef is that it doesn’t allocate more money for students who are English Language Learners or live in poverty. The theory is that it’s harder to educate those students and so they need additional services, which costs additional money.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Nevada
California Senator Kamala Harris meets with One APIA Nevada, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies empowering Asian Pacific Islander Nevadans. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ben Carson talks housing (Audio only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Ben Carson visits the RJ (Full Audio Only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Nevada
After campaigning at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 16 in Henderson, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke with the Review-Journal.
Student serenades Mayor Carolyn Goodman at swearing in
Students from the school she founded, The Meadows School, serenaded Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman during a swearing in ceremony for her third and final term. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Al Gore Speaks At UNLV About Climate Change - Video
Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore talks to an audience at UNLV about the effects of Climate change and how to switch to renewable sources of energy.
Forum on Wages and Working People Highlights - VIDEO
Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, and John Hickenlooper speak in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nevada Politics Today Valerie Weber - VIDEO
Valerie Weber sits down with Victor Joecks to discuss her policies and why she is running for Ward 2 of the Las Vegas City Council.
Cory Booker speaks at UNLV
US Senator Cory Booker speaks at UNLV during a Young Democrats meet and greet on Thursday, April 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
May-Brown describes why some with disabilities need the subminimum wage - VIDEO
Eliminating the subminimum wage will end training and work opportunities for some members of the disabled community. Instead of doing something productive, they would be relegated to adult day care. That’s according to Tracy May-Brown, Opportunity Village’s director of advocacy, board and government relations.
Commission’s decision will delay Red Rock Canyon development
The Clark County Commission Wednesday rejected a developer’s request to approve a preliminary plan for 3,000 homes overlooking Red Rock Canyon before a federal agency grants permission for a roadway leading to the site.