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Domestic partnership certificates issued in Nevada
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Domestic partnership certificates issued in Nevada

Domestic partnership certificates issued in Nevada by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller issued domestic partnership certificate No. 1 at the state Capitol on October 1, as a state law providing many of the same legal rights as marriage to same-sex couples who register with the state went into effect.

Same-sex marriage in Nevada was banned in 2002 through Question 2, an amendment to the state constitution. Earlier this year, the Nevada Legislature passed a bill to create legal recognition of same-sex unions in Nevada.

Senate Bill 283, the bill to grant same-sex couples the same rights as married couples, was sponsored by openly Gay Democratic Senator David Parks of Las Vegas. The bill passed the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on April 9, and it advanced to the Senate floor, where it passed on April 21 with 12 votes in favor, nine opposed. On May 15, the Nevada Assembly also passed the legislation 26-14. However, the Governor vetoed the bill on May 26.

Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.) announced he would veto any legislation of this type if it reached his desk, saying, "I just don't believe in domestic partnerships." He said he believes domestic partnerships and marriage are virtually identical, and he asserted that because Nevadans voted in 2002 to ban same-sex marriage, they likewise would oppose the domestic partnership bill.

In Nevada, a vote of two-thirds in each house of the legislature is required to override a Governor's veto. Neither the Senate nor Assembly passed the bill with a veto-proof majority.

However, on May 30, the Senate managed to override the Governor's veto, in a 14-7 vote. The next day, the Assembly did the same, overriding the Governor's veto 28-14. The Nevada domestic partnership law took effect October 1.

Lee Cagley and Larry Davis were the first couple to be issued the certificate, and were congratulated by Secretary of State Miller.

"This gives us the legal rights to act for each other's benefit," said David. "It's a wonderful privilege, and we're grateful."

Cagley, 58, and Davis, 48, said they've been in a relationship for three years, and held a commitment ceremony on October 7, 2007, in Las Vegas, Nevada. They also were married in California on August 3, 2008, before voters there overturned Gay marriage in the state.

Nevada joins 16 other states that have laws recognizing domestic arrangements outside of marriage.

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