Recognition of same-sex unions in Nevada
|Legal recognition of
|†Note: Not yet in effect|
Nevada has recognized same-sex unions since October 1, 2009 through domestic partnerships, after the state legislature enacted legislation over Governor Jim Gibbons's veto. The state maintains a domestic partnership registry that enables same-sex couples to enjoy the same rights as married couples. It allows opposite-sex couples to establish domestic partnerships as well. Same-sex marriage is banned by the Constitution since 2002.
Same-sex marriage ban 
In 2013, the state legislature began work on legislation that repeals the constitutional ban and substituting a gender neutral definition of marriage.[b] The Senate approved the legislation on April 22 on a 12–9 vote. A committee of the Assembly held hearings and passed the bill in May. It now goes to the Assembly floor for a vote.
Domestic partnership 
Senate Bill 283, the bill to grant same-sex couples most of the same rights as married couples, which resembles California's domestic partnership law, was sponsored by openly gay Democratic Senator David Parks of Las Vegas. On March 15, 2009, Republican Governor Jim Gibbons announced that he would veto the legislation. He said "I just don't believe in" domestic partnerships, that he believes domestic partnerships and marriage are virtually identical, and that the 2002 vote to ban same-sex marriage shows that Nevadans oppose the domestic partnership bill.
The bill passed the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on April 9 and advanced to the Senate, where it passed on April 21 on a 12-9 vote. On May 15, the Nevada Assembly passed the legislation 26–14. The Governor vetoed the legislation on May 26.
Neither house of the legislature had passed the bill with the two-thirds vote needed to override the governor's veto. On Saturday, May 30, the Senate overrode the Governor's veto in a 14-7 vote. The Assembly did the same on Sunday, May 31, overriding the Governor's veto 28-14. The law has been in effect since October 1, 2009.
The Domestic Partnership Responsibilities Act provides largely the same state-level rights, responsibilities, obligations, entitlements and benefits of marriage under the name domestic partnership.
Some rights included in the Act include:
- Hospital visitation, health care decision–making, and information–access rights
- Inheritance rights and administration of the estate when the domestic partner dies without a will
- Rights regarding cemetery plots, disposition of remains, anatomical donations, and ordering of autopsies
- A surviving domestic partner may bring a wrongful death action based on the death of the other partner
- Testimonial privileges
- Community property rules apply
- Dissolution laws apply (with only a few exceptions)
- Domestic partners may sue on behalf of the community
- Domestic violence statutes apply
- Certain property transfers between partners are not taxed
- State veterans benefits apply
- Appointed and elected officials’ domestic partners are subject to the same laws and regulations that apply to officials’ spouses
- The right to use sick leave to care for a domestic partner
- The right to wages and benefits when a domestic partner is injured, and to unpaid wages upon the death of a domestic partner
- The right to unemployment and disability insurance benefits
- The right to workers’ compensation coverage
- Insurance rights, including rights under group policies, policy rights after the death of a domestic partner, conversion rights and continuing coverage rights
- Rights related to adoption, child custody and child support
- Business succession rights.
Nevada domestic partnerships differ from marriage in that a couple forming a domestic partnership must share a common residence and be at least 18 years old rather than 16 with the consent of one parent. Public agencies and public employers who provide health insurance for married partners of employees need not provide those same benefits to domestic partners.
Public opinion 
In May 2009 the Las Vegas Review-Journal polled Nevadans for their opinion on the domestic partnership bill and found that 38 percent favored it, while 50 percent opposed it and 12 percent were undecided. Self-identified Democrats supported the domestic partner legislation 46 percent to 36 percent. Similarly, independents showed 47 percent support and 42 percent opposition. Republicans expressed much stronger opposition, 71 percent; only 23 percent of Republicans supported the bill.
An April 2011 Public Policy Polling survey found that 74% of Nevada voters supported legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 33% supporting same-sex marriage and 41% supporting civil unions, while 25% opposed all legal recognition and 2% were not sure.
An August 2011 Public Policy Polling survey found that 45% of Nevada voters supported legalizing same-sex marriage, with 44% thinking it should be illegal, and 11% were not sure. In a separate question, 77% of Nevada voters supported legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 39% supporting same-sex marriage and 38% supporting civil unions, while 22% opposed all legal recognition and 2% were not sure.
An August 2012 Public Policy Polling survey found that 47% of Nevada voters supported legalizing same-sex marriage, with 42% thinking it should be illegal, and 11% were not sure. In a separate question, 80% of Nevada voters supported legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 40% supporting same-sex marriage and 40% supporting civil unions, while 17% opposed all legal recognition and 2% were not sure. 
A February 2013 poll found majority support for same-sex marriage among Nevada voters. The Retail Association of Nevada poll found that 54% were in favor of it, while 43% were opposed.
On April 10, 2012, Lambda Legal filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada. In the case of Sevcik v. Sandoval, it argued that "No legitimate ... interest exists to exclude same-sex couples from the historic and highly venerated institution of marriage, especially where the State already grants lesbians and gay men access to almost all substantive spousal rights and responsibilities through registered domestic partnership." The cases raises equal protect claims but does not assert a fundamental right to marry. On November 29, Judge Robert C. Jones ruled against the plaintiffs, holding that "the maintenance of the traditional institution of civil marriage as between one man and one woman is a legitimate state interest".
See also 
- Amendments to the Constitution of Nevada must be approved twice by voters if initiated by the people, or twice by the legislature and once by voters if initiated by the legislature.
- The legislature needs to approve it in two different sessions in order for it to appear on the 2016 ballot at the earliest.
- Senate Bill No. 283
- "Nev. senate panel amends, passes gay marriage bill". Reno Gazette-Journal. April 11, 2013.
- Chereb, Sandra (April 22, 2013). "Gay marriage resolution advances in Nevada". Reno Gazette-Journal. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
- "Dozens testify on Nevada same-sex marriage". Reno Gazette-Journal. May 9, 2013. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
- "Gay marriage bill clears Nevada Assembly panel". RGJ.com. May 16, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
- Nevada Governor says he will veto domestic partner bill
- Bill for same-sex couples passes
- Nevada Senate passes domestic partnership bill
- Nevada Senate passes partner bill
- Domestic partner bill endorsed
- Domestic Partner Bill Vetoed, KXNT Las Vegas, 26 May 2009
- Senate overrides governor's veto of domestic partners bill
- House overrides governor's veto of domestic partners bill
- Domestic Partnerships in Nevada
- Nevada Marriage Age Requirements Laws
- Showdown expected in Nevada over partner bill
- Sandoval still trounces Reid in re-do
- NV supports prostitution, gay marriage, but not online poker
- "Heller hanging on over Berkley". Public Policy Polling. Retrieved 8/28/2012.
- "54% Support Repealing Ban On Marriage Equality In Nevada". Gayapolis News. Retrieved 2/26/2013.
- MetroWeekly: Chris Geidner, "Lambda Legal Files Federal Lawsuit Seeking Marriage Equality in Nevada," April 10, 2012, accessed June 4, 2012
- Geidner, Chris (November 29, 2012). "Federal Judge Rules Nevada Can Ban Same-Sex Couples From Marriage". BuzzFeed Politics. Retrieved November 30, 2012.