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Will Nevada Voters Abandon Language Banning Same-Sex Marriage?

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Often coined the marriage capital of the world, Las Vegas hosted 120,000 weddings a year prior to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. (LollipopPhotographyUK/Pixabay)
Often coined the marriage capital of the world, Las Vegas hosted 120,000 weddings a year prior to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. (LollipopPhotographyUK/Pixabay)
 By Roz Brown, Public News Service - NV - Producer, Contact
September 15, 2020

LAS VEGAS -- LGBTQ supporters in Nevada are asking voters to approve the "Marriage Regardless of Gender Amendment" on the November ballot even though same-sex marriage already is legal in the state and nation.

The ballot measure would remove language aproved by voters in 2000 outlawing gay marriage in the state. Nevada's ban was overturned in 2015 when the U.S. Supreme Court found the right to marry - regardless of gender - is protected under the Constitution's due-process clause.

Holly Welborn, policy director at ACLU Nevada, said the ballot measure may be symbolic, but Nevada's economy benefits from people who want to marry here.

"The wedding industry makes Nevada - really Las Vegas - thrive. It's so important to who we are as a state," Welborn said. "And if we show that we're welcoming, then more people are going to want to come here and have their weddings in the state."

If approved, the ballot measure provides religious organizations and clergy the right to refuse to perform a same-sex marriage. There currently is no declared opposition to Question 2 in Nevada.

André Wade, state director with Nevada's Silver State Equality, said even though same-sex marriage is legal across the nation, nothing should be taken for granted.

"Regardless of what happens in the Supreme Court, there are always threats. You never know what's going to happen. And we have to protect the young people coming up behind us," Wade said. "And so by doing this the right way we'll ensure our civil rights are protected."

A poll conducted earlier this year found three-quarters of Nevadans support recognizing marriages between couples regardless of their gender. The outdated language is not unique to Nevada's Constitution; it's one of 30 states with language on the books prohibiting same-sex marriage, despite the Supreme Court ruling.

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