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Domestic partners

Nevada’s domestic partnership law was created to provide rights and equality to a class of people who lacked them.

Issuing identification cards to those same people would diminish those rights and mark a return to inequality.

Assemblyman Elliot Anderson, D-Las Vegas, says he’ll introduce a bill in the 2013 Legislature to provide wallet-size cards that show domestic partners are legally registered with the state. The proposal is a response to a Review-Journal story, published Aug. 19, about a woman who was denied the ability to make medical decisions for her partner at Spring Valley Hospital even though they had registered as domestic partners.

Nevada’s law provides registered same-sex and opposite-sex couples with the same rights and protections as married couples. “These people need to have their legal rights upheld,” Mr. Anderson told the Review-Journal last week.

The Review-Journal story about Henderson residents Brittney Leon and Terri-Ann Simonelli helped raise awareness about the requirements of the domestic partnership law and how far many institutions have to go to comply with it.

Anyone who is hospitalized should provide family members with legal documents such as power of attorney, a health directive or a living will – documents the couple lacked. But the whole point of the domestic partnership law was to give these relationships the same legal standing as marriage. If married couples don’t have to carry state-issued identification cards that confirm their status, domestic partners shouldn’t have to, either.

Otherwise, what other legally recognized groups of people might one day be compelled to get their own state-issued identification cards? The disabled? Custodial parents? It’s one thing to prove your identity. It’s entirely another to have to identify various aspects of your personal life.

Mr. Anderson’s heart is in the right place, but his bill represents a step backward.

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