Nevada amends laws to formally recognise same-sex marriage
The Governor of Nevada has signed a bill that codifies same-sex unions into state law.
It is approaching the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which brought same-sex marriage to all 50 states.
While same-sex unions have now been permitted across the entire United States for some time, lawmakers in many Republican-controlled states continue to resist any move to codify the change into law – meaning that unenforceable state laws referring to marriage as between a man and a woman remain on the books.
However, some progress came this week from Nevada, after the state’s Governor signed a bill altering Nevada laws to reflect that marriage is open to same-sex couples.
The state’s moderate Republican Governor Brian Sandoval signed the law, which was sponsored in the Nevada Assembly by Democrat Nelson Araujo.
The law amends state regulations to refer to marriage as between “two persons, regardless of gender”, rather than between one man and one woman.
The small change has little impact beyond tidying up state law, but it may be a long time before others follow suit.
It has been more than 15 years since the 2003 court ruling which struck down anti-gay sodomy laws, but plenty of states never removed their invalid laws from the books.
Louisiana, Idaho, Utah, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Montana, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas all still have unenforcable state laws criminalising gay sex that have simply never been repealed.
An attempt to repeal Louisiana’s law was rejected by GOP legislators in 2014. Virginia’s Sodomy law was repealed in the same year.
Among other bills signed by Gov. Sandoval is a bill that outlaws gay ‘cure’ therapy.
The bill stops short of banning religious ‘counsellors’ like pastors from attempting to ‘cure’ the sexual orientation or gender identity of a person.
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Those opposed to the bill argued that adults and the parents of gay children should be allowed to opt-in to the practice if they so wish.
But, along the lines of many major medical bodies, Senator Parks argued that the practice can be harmful to recipients.
“I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate and the Assembly for their bipartisan support of Senate Bill 201,” said Nevada State Senator Parks.
“Conversion therapy is a dangerous, discredited practice that has been shown to cause anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicide among LGBTQ youth.
“By enacting this ban, Nevada will join eight other states and the District of Columbia in taking a strong stand to protect young people from psychological and physical abuse.”