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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriage (SSM) and Nevada.

2014-OCT-07 to 16:
Ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
for a Nevada case: Sevcik v. Sandoval.
Nevada becomes the 26th or 27th state
to attain marriage equality.

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This topic is continued from the previous page

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Both Nevada and Wyoming legalized same-sex
marriage on the same day, 2014-OCT-09.

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U.S. map highlighting Nevada Nevada's case: Beverly Sevcik v. Brian Sandoval:

2014-OCT-07: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issues its decision:

As noted above, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals considered both the Idaho and Nevada cases together, and issued a ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in both states. However, only the State of Idaho requested a stay of the court's decision. The State of Nevada concluded that the probability of being able to ultimately preserve its ban on same-sex marriages was so small that it would be a waste of taxpayer money for the state to continue to fight this lawsuit further.

The Coalition for the Protection of Marriage -- a group devoted to preventing same-sex couples from marrying -- filed an application with Justice Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court on OCT-08. They asked that he extend his stay on the Circuit Court's Idaho ruling to include Nevada. Later that day, Justice Kennedy issued a revised order limiting the stay to just Idaho. 2,3

When the status of same-sex marriage in Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming is resolved, there may be 32 states that have legalized same-sex marriages, including Nevada. This includes almost two-thirds of the 50 states in the U.S.!

On OCT-08, U.S. District Judge Robert C. Jones took himself off the Sevcik v. Brian Sandoval case. He is the judge that had upheld Nevada's ban on same-sex marriage back in 2012-NOV. His role was taken over by U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan. He issued an order that formalized marriage equality in Nevada. The order instructed state officials to stop enforcing the same-sex marriage ban. Same-sex couples became able to obtain marriage licenses throughout Nevada.

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NBC News commented on OCT-09:

"Frustration turned to elation Thursday as a dizzying legal wrangle ended with gay couples receiving marriage licenses in Las Vegas — the marriage capital of the world — and other cities across Nevada.

Couples cheered at the Las Vegas marriage license bureau when days of anticipation became reality after Clark County Clerk Diana Alba began granting same-sex partners the right to wed shortly after 5 p.m.

"It's amazing, this is it," said Theo Small as he stood next to his partner, Antioco Carillo, and looked down at their marriage license, the first issued in Las Vegas.

"We're walking on clouds," Carillo said. "This is unreal."

State Senator Kelvin Atkinson wed Sherwood Howard shortly after gay couples began receiving marriage licenses.

About 430 miles north, a clerk in the Carson City marriage license office, Elizabeth Phelps, says Kristy Best and Wednesday Smith became the first same-sex couple in the state to get a license about 3 p.m. Thursday.

Their hopes of getting married had been in limbo since the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that gay couples' equal protection rights -- guaranteed by the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution were violated by same-sex wedding bans in Nevada and Idaho. However, clerks needed a trial court to issue an injunction enforcing the decision. That order came [on October-09] ... not long after Alba apologized to five couples waiting to be married at the Las Vegas marriage license bureau, telling them, 'Nobody is more frustrated than I am'." 4

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Las Vegas ad Response by Las Vegas towards same-sex marriage is mixed:

Los Vegas has long been known as the wedding capital of the world. The arrival of marriage equality to Nevada is expected to significantly increase the tourist dollars flowing into the city.

The The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority campaign funded a full-page ad in USA Today celebrating the arrival of marriage equality in the state.The caption reads: "Now you can say 'I do' to one more thing here. Las Vegas"

The Authority issued a statement saying:

"This is an historic day for Las Vegas and the great state of Nevada. As the 'Wedding Capital of the World' and one of the top destinations for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender visitors, Las Vegas welcomes LGBT couples wishing to legally recognize their relationship. There is simply no better destination to host a fabulous wedding followed by a one-of-a-kind honeymoon." 6

The city has launched a new section in their web site specifically "covering events, special offers, and activities tailored for the LGBT traveler." See: http://www.lasvegas.com/

However, some wedding chapels in the city are refusing same-sex engaged couples as customers.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, for a for-profit commercial establishment to refuse service to a person because of their sexual orientation is a misdemeanor. The state has human rights legislation that has included sexual orientation in its list of protected group since 2011.

Tod Story of the ACLU said:

"The difference between a church and a place of worship and a wedding chapel, is that a wedding chapel is a [for-profit] business so that is covered under the Public Accommodations Law of Nevada." 7

TV station KLAS-TV telephoned about 15 wedding chapels and found that several refused to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples.

Dolly Deleon owns the for-profit Vegas Wed Chapel. When asked whether she would marry a same-sex couple, she said:

"My faith won't allow me. ... I would be a hypocrite if I said I'm a Bible-believing person and yet I would perform marriage that [I] believe is solely against God's law." 7

She has refused same-sex couples in the past, and so far has not been charged under the state human rights legislation.

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Marriage equality appears to have come to Nevada permanently.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Alia Beard Rau and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, "Supreme Court stays 9th Circuit ruling on gay-marriage ban," AZCentral, 2014-OCT-07 at: http://www.azcentral.com/
  2. Emergency application to stay mandate..." Coalition for the Protection of Marriage, 2014-OCT-08, at: http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/
  3. Lyle Denniston, "FURTHER UPDATE: Same-sex marriage OK in Nevada," Scotus Blog, 2014-OCT-08, at: http://www.scotusblog.com/
  4. " 'We're Walking on Clouds': Gay Marriages Begin in Nevada." NBC News, 2014-OCT-09, at: http://www.nbcnews.com/
  5. "Appeals court lifts Idaho's stay on same-sex marriage," Idaho Statesman, 2014-OCT-13, at: http://www.idahostatesman.com/
  6. Tim Nudd, "Las Vegas Celebrates Gay Marriage in Nevada With a Fabulous Full-Page Newspaper Ad," Ad Week, 2014-OCT-14, at: http://www.adweek.com/
  7. Scptt Daniels, "Some chapels refusing to marry same-sex couples," KLAS-TV, 2014-OCT-16, at: http://www.8newsnow.com/

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Copyright © 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance 
Originally written: 2014-OCT-09
Latest update: 2014-OCT-26
Author: B.A. Robinson

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