Relic of same-sex marriage ban finally removed from state constitution in major election victory for LGBT+ rights
Nevada has voted to enshrine the right to same-sex marriage to its state constitution, eliminating a ban introduced 20 years ago.
Although the Supreme Court overturned state bans on marriage equality 2015, such provisions remain in the constitutions of 30 US states.
Until now, Nevada was among that number. Its citizens overwhelmingly passed a ban in 2002 – but on Election Day, citizens voted to enshrine LGBT+ rights in the constitution.
With 75 per cent of precincts tallied, Nevada’s Question 2 passed by 61 per cent to 39 per cent.
Andre Wade, director of local LGBT+ rights group Silver State Equality, said that although the move is in effect symbolic, it is an important milestone.
“It’s important to have our constitution match the will of the people,” Wade said, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
“The (provision) was something that was added two decades ago, but it wasn’t working. It needed to be removed.”
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John Waldron, CEO of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, said that the move had added importance in light of Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment to the Supreme Court.
“It gives us the protection we were looking for should something happen with the conservative Supreme Court at the federal level,” he said.
As well as removing language recognising marriage as only between a man and a woman, the ballot question requires Nevada to recognise all marriages regardless of gender equally.
It includes a provision for religious organisations and clergy members, permitting them to refuse to conduct marriages and preventing legal action being taken against them.
Nevada is a key battleground state in the presidential election, and at the time of writing remains too close to call.
With 86 per cent of the estimated vote reported, Joe Biden has a narrow lead of about 8,000 votes.