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HISTORY

On Valentine’s day 2014, the Freedom Nevada coalition was launched to start the process of repealing the 2002 constitutional definition and replace it with marriage equality affirming language. The coalition consisted of the ACLU of Nevada and ACLU National, HRC (Human Rights Campaign), PLAN (Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada), and Freedom to Marry.

The next step in repealing and replacing the discriminatory marriage definition would have required the 2015 legislature to pass the resolution a second time and then transmit the language to the secretary of state for inclusion on the 2016 ballot and ratification by the voters. The resolution was not reintroduced in 2015 after Republicans won majorities in both houses and every constitutional office in Nevada.

In 1999, “The Coalition for the Protection of Marriage in Nevada” (also known as “Nevada Concerned Citizens”) began the process of amending the state constitution to define and limit the institution of civil marriage through the petition process. Following a yearlong and well-funded petition signature collection campaign, the initiative was qualified to appear before voters on the November 2000 ballot as “Question 2.” The Question asked voters if the constitution shall be amended with the following:  “Only a marriage between a male and female person shall be recognized and given effect in this state.”  The measure was approved by 69.6% of the voters in November of 2000, and by 67% of voters in the constitutionally-required subsequent election in November of 2002. In January 2003, Question 2 became section 21 of Nevada’s bill of rights in Article I of the state constitution.

In the fall of 2012, advocates for marriage equality began discussions with legislators about repealing Nevada’s discriminatory constitutional marriage definition during the 2013 legislative session.  Once key legislative sponsors were secured, it was agreed that a resolution would be introduced to repeal the definition of marriage in Nevada.  Nevada’s constitution allows for amendments in two ways: a referendum by the people or by legislative action. Nevada’s legislature only meets every other year, and so the amendment process occurs over a three year period and must happen in consecutive legislative sessions before going to the voters. In Nevada, constitutional amendments enacted by the legislature must follow the Nevada Constitution, Article. 16, Section 1. – Amendments

On March 26, 2013, Senate Joint Resolution 13 was introduced after advocates rewrote the resolution to repeal the current amendment and replace it with enabling, inclusive, marriage equality affirming language. Nine Senate sponsors and cosponsors and seven Assembly sponsors and cosponsors—all Democrats--signed on to support the resolution.  After hearings in both houses, the resolution passed the Senate with all Democrats and one Republican voting in favor (12 Yea/9 Nay), and the Assembly with all Democrats and one Republican voting in favor (27 Yea/14 Nay).

Despite the rather glaring discriminatory stain of Question 2 in Nevada history, Nevada has been at the forefront of pro-LGBTQ legislation in the country and has achieved numerous victories, making it one of the leading states in the country in terms of statutes and policies supporting equality for its LGBTQ citizens. The more notable of these victories include:

Gay Couple

1993

Successful repeal of Nevada’s sodomy ban

1999

Successful legislative passage of statewide Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) covering sexual orientation

2001

Sexual orientation added to Nevada Hate Crimes Protections

2009

  • Successful legislative passage of Nevada’s Domestic Partner Registry Act, granting spousal equivalency and next-of-kinship status to Domestic Partners.

  • Sexual orientation protections added to public accommodation law

2011

  • Transgender Parity was achieved in the state’s ENDA, its Public Accommodations statutes, and its Fair Housing statutes

  • Gender Identity and Expression and Sexual Orientation added to Foster Care Bill of Rights and providing for a court-appointed special advocate for those in the foster care system who might be subjected to LGBT discrimination, harassment, or mistreatment

  • Death Benefits extended to same-sex state employees spouses

2013

  • Successfully passed Senate Joint Resolution 13 to define marriage equality in the Nevada Constitution

  • Gender Identity and Expression was added to existing Hate Crimes protections

  • Repealed the Infamous Crimes against Nature statute defining the “Age of Consent” differently for heterosexual and homosexual relationships.

2017

  • Successfully passed legislation making it easier to change gender on official identification documents.

  • Removed gendered language from marriage licenses.

  • Expanded protections for LGBTQ foster youth.

  • Passed legislation protecting the privacy of transgender Nevadans.

  • Banned conversion therapy for youth.

  • Successfully passed Assembly Joint Resolution 2, proposing to amend the Nevada Constitution to require the recognition of all marriages regardless of gender.

2019

  • Expanded statewide non-discrimination protections in the application of credit, adding to existing protections for LGBTQ Nevadans’ in housing, employment, education, public spaces, foster care and jury selection.

  • Banned the gay/ trans panic defense, which could allow perpetrators of violent crimes to assert a victim’s LGBTQ identity as a potential defense for their actions.

  • Established a task force that will evaluate state law and make recommendations to modernize laws affecting people living with HIV or AIDS.

  • Prohibited discriminatory practices by medical providers and facilities.

  • Successfully passed Assembly Joint Resolution 2, proposing to amend the Nevada Constitution to require the recognition of all marriages regardless of gender, for the 2nd time.

In 2017, the repeal measure was introduced again, as Assembly Joint Resolution 2, with an amendment to include the religious exemption language. It passed both chambers with support from one Republican assemblywoman voting yes.

In 2019, the measure passed both chambers again, but this time with almost unanimous support from both Democratic and Republican legislators.

The question in now Question 2 on the 2020 Nevada Ballot

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© 2020 Yes on Question 2