Nevada Gov. Vetoes Same-Sex Domestic Partnerships Bill: Says Bill Violates Marriage Amendment

Wed May 27, 2009 - 12:15 pm EST

By Kathleen Gilbert

CARSON CITY, Nevada, May 27, 2009 ( - As promised, Governor Jim Gibbons of Nevada on Monday vetoed legislation that would have established domestic partnership rights for both homosexual and heterosexual couples.  Proponents are now attempting to gather the necessary congressional votes to overturn the veto.

Senate Bill 283 would have established, in the governor's words, "nearly all of the rights, protections, benefits and privileges" of marriage for same-sex couples.  In vetoing the bill Gibbons referred to the 2002 referendum by which Nevada voters amended the state constitution to specify that marriage is between a man and a woman.

"Senate Bill 283 would effectively bypass that constitutional mandate by allowing the rights and privileges of marriage to be bestowed upon non-married persons," said Gibbons in his veto message.

"I believe that because the voters have determined that the rights of marriage should apply only to married couples, only the voters should determine whether those rights should equally apply to domestic partners."  Gibbons also noted that many of the privileges outlined in the measure are already available via private contracts.

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas assigned State Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, the legislature's only openly homosexual member, to round up support for a veto override.  Parks said he needs two additional votes in both the Senate and Assembly to form the two-thirds majority to override Gibbons' veto, reports the Las Vegas Sun.

The bill had been approved 12-9 in the Senate, with two Democrats joining seven Republicans in opposing the bill.  In the Assembly, the bill was approved 26-14.

Focus on the Family marriage analyst Jenny Tyree praised the governor's statement.

"Governor Gibbons recognized that the proposed bill would undermine the definition of marriage as decided by Nevada's voters," she said. "His veto respects the will of the people of Nevada, and the importance of marriage for thriving families."

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