The lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund highlights the differences in rights afforded to straight couples who marry and the ‘domestic partnerships’ under which gay couples can legally register their union. Domestic partnerships were introduced by the state in 2009 after a ban on gay marriages in 2002.
The organisation wants to overturn the ban “and any other sources of state law that exclude same-sex couples from marriage”, claiming that eight same-sex couples are being discriminated against because they aren’t allowed to marry.
“Nevada already gives same-sex couples the rights and responsibilities of family, parenting and relationships,” Tara Borelli, a Los Angeles-based Lambda Legal attorney told AP, “What is the reason for not giving them the one word that says it all?”
The civil lawsuit names Republican Governor Brian Sandoval as a defendant, alleging state law makers created a “selective bar to access to marriage” which discriminates same sex couples.
Jennifer Lopez, a spokeswoman for Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, said the state will review the filings and decide how to proceed.
The lead plaintiffs in the case are Beverly Sevcik, 73, and Mary Baranovich, 76, of Carson City, who’ve been together for nearly 41 years and have raised three children, Lambda said. They have four grandchildren.
Lambda Legal, founded in 1973, is continuing its state-by-state fight for same sex marriage equality including challenging the cut to domestic partner health benefits in Arizona and fighting against the federal defense of marriage act which prevents same-sex marriages, in California.