From Metro Weekly: Today, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund filed a federal lawsuit in Nevada seeking equal marriage rights for eight same-sex couples in the state.
According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, the lead plaintiffs in the new lawsuit — Beverly Sevcik, 73, and Mary Baranovich, 76, of Carson City, Nevada — have been together for more than 40 years. As the complaint notes, “When Beverly and Mary committed their lives to each other on October 2, 1971 and bought rings to signify their relationship, they were careful not to purchase matching rings for fear of having their relationship discovered.”
The couple, nonetheless, went on to raise three children and have four grandchildren, despite the constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2000 and 2002 limiting marriage in the state’s constitution to “a male and a female person.”
Same-sex couples have been able to receive many of the same benefits and privileges of marriage but not the status itself, however, since the legislature passed comprehensive domestic partnership benefits over the veto of then-Gov. Jim Gibbons (R) in 2009.
According to the complaint, “No legitimate, let alone important or compelling, interest exists to exclude same-sex couples from the historic and highly venerated institution of marriage, especially where the State already grants lesbians and gay men access to almost all substantive spousal rights and responsibilities through registered domestic partnership.”
Explaining the claim, Borelli says, “One of the reasons that we’re suing in the state of Nevada is that this is a particular equal protection problem that this case examines. It’s the kind of problem created where a state excludes same-sex couples from marriage deems them fit for all of the rights and responsibilities of marriage through a lesser, second-class status — in this case, domestic partnership. That shows just how irrational that state’s decision is to shut same-sex couples out of marriage.”
Chad Griffin, who began AFER and will take over as president of the Human Rights Campaign responded:
“Every American deserves the same dignity and respect, the same freedom to love, to marry and to build a family, no matter which state they live in,” he said in a statement provided to Metro Weekly. “I am proud that the historic victories in the Perry case helped make possible today’s lawsuit in Nevada. Working together, we will realize this most American of dreams.”