Category Archives: Nevada

Nevada Senate Continues to Push Marriage Redefinition, Despite Governor’s Opposition

From the Las Vegas Sun:

Despite Gov. Brian Sandoval's belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman, the Senate Judiciary Committee is poised Thursday to approve a constitutional amendment on gay marriage.

Committee Chairman Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, says there are enough votes for Senate Joint Resolution 13 to clear both the committee and the full Senate. Some Republicans are supporting the measure, he said.

Perhaps the most telling fact comes at the very end of the article:

The resolution has the support also of the wedding chapel industry who argued it would draw gay couples to Nevada from other states to get married.

Go figure!

Las Vegas Newspaper: Judge Right to Respect Will of People on Marriage

The editors of the Las Vegas Nevada-Journal take the peoples' side on marriage:

"...Judge Jones has, in fact, just ruled to uphold not merely "the law," but the Nevada Constitution as recently amended by Nevada voters.

The U.S. Constitution - under which the action is brought - instructs that the several states must retain authority to establish different sets of laws best suited to their residents, whereupon Americans may "vote with their feet" by relocating to jurisdictions with legal codes that better suit them. Thomas Jefferson specifically warned that if the states ever became subsidiary jurisdictions of a uniform central authority, like the "Departments" of France, America would degenerate into a Bonapartist tyranny.

If planks of a constitution enacted by voters can be tossed out willy-nilly by a court determined to enforce what it thinks the law ought to be, then the people have a right to ask whether we have passed from a republic with government powers limited by being divided among the three branches and the several levels, into a dictatorship of the unelected bench.

If the state constitution is to be changed - even if we lament the slowness of the process - it should be left to the legislative branch and the wisdom of the people at the polls."

AP: Supreme Court Asked to Rule on Nevada Law Protecting Marriage


A group that opposes gay marriage asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to take up a challenge to Nevada's ban on same sex unions.

The Coalition for the Protection of Marriage said the case crystalizes the fundamental question of whether the legal definition of marriage should be changed from a man and a woman to the union of any two people.

The coalition filed documents seeking what is known as a writ of certiorari that asks the Supreme Court to take the case before it can be considered by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

... "The fundamental marriage issue is whether ... the legal definition of marriage (should) be changed from the union of a man and a woman to the union of any two persons," the coalition filing said.

In its 127-page filing, the coalition called the Nevada case the clearest among several gay marriage cases the high court could consider because it hinges on that "fundamental" question and isn't encumbered by side issues.

"This case has developed most comprehensively and thoroughly the societal interests justifying preservation of marriage's man-woman meaning," the document said.

Nevada Pro-Marriage Lawyers Ask SCOTUS: Must States Redefine Marriage?

From the SCOTUSblog:

Lawyers for a group defending Nevada’s ban on same-sex marriage asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday afternoon to decide the most basic constitutional question in that controversy: must a state allow gays and lesbians to get married?  That is an issue that no other pending case at the Court has raised.  The new case involves a Nevada federal judge’s ruling that there is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage, and the new petition seeks to defend that even while asking the Justices to step in.

“After twenty years of intense judicial and extra-judicial engagement with the question of the public meaning of marriage, the Nation is now looking to this Court for the federal constitutional answer to the fundamental marriage issue,” the petition said.

The case is Coalition for the Protection of Marriage v. Beverly Sevcik; it is a plea for the Court to hear the case directly from the federal district court in Reno without waiting for a ruling on the case by the Ninth Circuit Court.  The petition and appendix with the district judge’s ruling can be found here.

... Judge Jones’s decision has now been appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court by the same-sex couples involved in the case (pending in that court on docket 12-17668).  But the defenders of the state ban asked the Supreme Court to grant review of the case now, before it moves forward in the Circuit Court.   The Supreme Court has the authority to lift up a case like that from a federal district court, if the case already has been appealed to a Circuit Court.  In fact, the Court is also being asked to do that in some of the other pending same-sex marriage cases.

... In asking the Supreme Court to add to the current consideration of the controversy, the defenders of Nevada’s traditional marriage amendment said that if the Court confined its review to any of the other pending cases, it would make a decision “without resolution of the fundamental marriage issue.”   This is the way the petition framed that issue: “Whether the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause requires Nevada to change its definition of marriage from the union of a man and a woman to the union of two persons.”

Pressing that question, the petition said it “may be the most nationally important and consequential issue to come before this Court in many years.  Of the ‘marriage’ cases now before this Court, this case is optimal for resolving the fundamental issue for several reasons.  The case is the only one that cannot be resolved without answering the fundamental issue.”

Federal Court in Nevada Upholds State's Definition of Marriage as One Man and One Woman


Contact: Elizabeth Ray or Jen Campbell (703-683-5004)

National Organization for Marriage calls on U.S. Supreme Court to Review California Case Declaring that Proposition 8 is Unconstitutional

National Organization for Marriage

Washington, D.C.—The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) ) today praised a federal judge's finding upholding Nevada's definition of marriage as being only one man and one woman, and called on the United States Supreme Court to grant certiorari in the California case that invalidated Proposition 8. Last week in the case of Sevcik v. Sandoval, a federal district judge upheld true marriage and rejected claims that limiting marriage to heterosexual couples violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, instead finding, "the protection of the traditional institution of marriage…is a legitimate state interest."

"In stark contrast to the findings of a rogue judge in California who himself was engaged in a long-term homosexual relationship, the federal court in Nevada has quite properly found that true marriage serves an important public purpose and is entitled to protection," said John Eastman, Chairman of NOM. "This important ruling shows how far out of the mainstream the decision in the Proposition 8 case was, and totally undercuts the legal conclusions that the San Francisco court used to invalidate Proposition 8. We hope that the decision will help the U.S. Supreme Court to see the importance of granting certiorari in the case so that the good of marriage will be maintained across the country, just as it was in Nevada."

The federal court in Nevada specifically rejected legal conclusions in the challenge to Nevada's constitutional amendment preserving true marriage that were accepted by the federal Court in the Proposition 8 case. These include:

  • That a review of constitutional amendments or statues regarding the definition of marriage is entitled to heightened legal scrutiny—a higher standard of review than is required of other cases asserting constitutional claims.
  • That homosexuals are politically powerless, a finding that supported the California court's ruling that sexual orientation should be considered a suspect class entitled to enhanced legal protection.
  • That there is no rational basis for a state to preserve marriage as one man and one woman.

"The federal court in Nevada properly found that the decision of the policy to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman is up to the Legislature or the People," said Eastman. "Unfortunately, a judge in San Francisco who is engaged in a long-term same-sex relationship—a relationship that warranted his recusal because it appears to make him a beneficiary of his own ruling-- decided to substitute his values for those of the people of California who twice voted in favor of true marriage. This is the height of judicial activism and we urge the U.S. Supreme Court to grant review of the Proposition 8 case so that the policy judgment of the more than 7 million Californians who voted to preserve marriage is given effect, just as the judgment of Nevada voters was upheld last week by the federal court there."

The Proposition 8 case is Hollingsworth v. Perry (formerly known as Perry v. Schwarzenegger).


To schedule an interview with John Eastman, Chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, please contact Elizabeth Ray (x130), [email protected], or Jen Campbell (x145), [email protected], at 703-683-5004.

Paid for by The National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown, president. 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20006, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. New § 68A.405(1)(f) & (h).

William Duncan's Take on the Importance of the Nevada Decision on Marriage for SCOTUS

The media is attempting to bury this news but it has significant import for the effort to legally settle the marriage question.

William Duncan, writing in NRO, explains what happened:

In the wake of the Ninth Circuit’s decision striking down Proposition 8, Lambda Legal sued the State of Nevada alleging the state’s marriage amendment was a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Yesterday, the trial court issued a decision rejecting the claim and upholding Nevada’s law.

The court said “the maintenance of the traditional institution of civil marriage as between one man and one woman is a legitimate state interest.” The opinion further held: “Because the family is the basic societal unit, the State could have validly reasoned that the consequences of altering the traditional definition of civil marriage could be severe.”

The court’s holding on the question of whether same-sex marriage advocates are politically powerless is particularly interesting:

Today, unlike in 1990, the public media are flooded with editorial, commercial, and artistic messages urging the acceptance of homosexuals. Anti-homosexual messages are rare in the national informational and entertainment media, except that antihomosexual characters are occasionally used as foils for pro-homosexual viewpoints in entertainment media. Homosexuals serve openly in federal and state political offices. The President of the United States has announced his personal acceptance of the concept of same-sex marriage, and the announcement was widely applauded in the national media. Not only has the President expressed his moral support, he has directed the Attorney General not to defend against legal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), a federal law denying recognition to same-sex marriages at the federal level. It is exceedingly rare that a president refuses in his official capacity to defend a democratically enacted federal law in court based upon his personal political disagreements. That the homosexual-rights lobby has achieved this indicates that the group has great political power. . . . In 2012 America, anti-homosexual viewpoints are widely regarded as uncouth. . . . Plaintiffs’ democratic loss on a particular issue does not prove that they lack political power.

With this decision, there are now six federal courts that have rejected equal-protection arguments for redefining marriage: the District of Nevada, District of HawaiiMiddle District of FloridaWestern District of Washington (Bankruptcy), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court in a summary decision issued in 1972.

Breaking News: Nevada Federal Judge Rejects Same-Sex Marriage

The Associated Press:

"... U.S. District Chief Judge Robert Jones ruled that Nevada has what he calls "a legitimate state interest" in maintaining the traditional institution of marriage between one man and one woman.

He says the state has the right to prohibit recognition of marriages from other states."

Maggie Gallagher comments at NRO's The Corner:

The District court in Nevada just upheld that state’s marriage amendment, using the wins for gay marriage this November at the ballot box as evidence that gay people are not a protected class (because they are not politically powerless), and upholding Baker v. Nelson as controlling on the equal-protection claim.

The case now goes to the Ninth Circuit.

Same-Sex Marriage Separates Candidates in Nevada

The Las Vegas Review-Journal Capital Bureau:

President Barack Obama's support for gay marriage was bound to become a campaign issue for Nevada legislative races in November's general election.

That's where Republicans, who generally don't like the idea, and Democrats, who mostly back it, will duke it out.

But just two weeks after the presidential announcement, the idea already is stirring up a Democratic primary race for state Senate.

The race for Senate District 1 in North Las Vegas between incumbent John Lee and newcomer Patricia Spearman provides the first test of the election season to determine whether Nevada residents support gay marriage.

In one corner sits Lee: Mormon, white, politically moderate and a legislator who voted against domestic partnerships and who opposes gay marriage.

Lee also has served the past 15 years in the Legislature and holds the Senate Democratic Caucus endorsement.

In the other chair is Spearman: evangelical minister, black, gay and a liberal who favors same-sex marriage. She never has held political office in Nevada.

Lawsuit Filed to Overturn Marriage in Nevada

Via the Metro Weekly (a gay newspaper):

Today, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund took what one of its lawyers calls "a strategic step" in the national effort to advance marriage equality by filing a federal lawsuit in Nevada seeking equal marriage rights for eight same-sex couples in the state.

The lawsuit, Sevcik v. Sandoval, marks the first time that Lambda Legal has sought equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples in federal court, although a staff attorney with the group, Tara Borelli, notes that another case filed by Lambda Legal in state court in New Jersey includes federal claims as well.

... Lambda Legal's federal lawsuit against Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) was filed electronically in Nevada overnight today, and it stands as a sign of the significant ground movement on marriage equality in the country in recent years.

... At the same time, Borelli makes clear that Lambda sees this as another -- and not the final -- step in seeking marriage equality through the courts.

"This lawsuit seeks the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in the state of Nevada and is tailored to be a responsible building block for future marriage equality work," she tells Metro Weekly from Las Vegas on the eve of the filing. "We've always believed that it's important to take strategic steps that build on each other, and that's exactly what this case is designed to do."

NOM Congratulates Mitt Romney on Back-to-Back Wins

CONTACT: Anath Hartmann or Elizabeth Ray (703-683-5004)

Former governor of Massachusetts wins Nevada caucuses; has signed NOM's Marriage Pledge

National Organization for Marriage

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Brian Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today congratulated GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney on his victory in the Nevada caucuses, a back-to-back victory following Romney's victory in the Florida primary.

“NOM congratulates Mitt Romney on another impressive victory in the Nevada caucuses, just days after his big win in Florida," said Brown. "Governor Romney, who has signed NOM’s Marriage Pledge has now won contests in three different regions of the country and has clearly established himself as the leading candidate.”

Three of the four remaining candidates in the race have signed the NOM Marriage Pledge. Only Ron Paul, who has said that civil marriage should be abolished all together, has refused. Paul is the only candidate who has failed to win a single primary or caucus. Rick Santorum won in Iowa while Newt Gingrich won in South Carolina. NOM has actively opposed Paul’s candidacy and maintains the website to inform voters about his radical views.

“Preserving marriage as the union of one man and one woman is an important issue in the GOP presidential race, and we will continue to let voters know where the candidates stand on marriage,” Brown said.


To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, please contact Elizabeth Ray (x130), [email protected], or Anath Hartmann, [email protected], at 703-683-5004.