Lambda Legal urges Nevada lawmakers to advance marriage equality in groundbreaking lawsuitTop Highlights, Breaking News Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday in the state of Nevada in an effort to advance marriage equality in the state. The suit was filed on behalf of eight Nevada same-sex couples. Sevcik vs. Sandoval is the first entirely federal lawsuit brought on by an LGBT advocacy group according to MetroWeekly, despite a previously filed claim in the state of New Jersey that included some federal claims.
“This lawsuit seeks the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in the state of Nevada and is tailored to be a responsible building block for future marriage equality work,” said Lambda Legal staff attorney Tara Borelli.
The lawsuit, as reported by MetroWeekly, explains:
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.
Borelli added, “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.”
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