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Nevada Lawmakers Consider Same-Sex Marriage


CARSON CITY, Nev. The same day the United States Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of California's ban of same-sex marriage known as Proposition 8, Nevada lawmakers took our own state's constitutional ban into consideration.

After 41 years together, Beverly Sevick and Mary Baranovich have seen it all.

"We have the same problems as everyone else," Baranovich said. "Pay our taxes, go to the grocery store, go on vacation, get sick."

Except there's one thing they've never seen; the piece of paper saying their 4 decades together is recognized by the State of Nevada.

"We really, really want to be married legally in the eyes of the state," Sevick said.

Though they have a domestic partnership, their story is like so many other same-sex couples across the who have made commitments to their partners but lack the legal recognition. Something same-sex marriage supporters say they hope will change if lawmakers pass Senate Joint Resolution 13.

SJR 13 seeks repeal the constitutional amendment passed by Nevadan voters in 2000 and 2002 defining marriage as between a man and woman.

It was standing room only at the Legislature in Carson City Tuesday as the Senate Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections heard passionate testimonies from both sides of the issue. Some sought to keep the ban in place, while others hoped equality would prevail.

"George Washington, in his farewell address, his last words to the nation were, the two most important pillars that hold up a nation are morality and religion," Pastor Dick Cervi said. "In other words, if we lose those two pillars our nation is going down." Pastor Cervi leads Faith Baptist Church in Silver Springs. He spoke out in opposition of repealing the ban, but supporters say they don't understand how same-sex marriage destroys the institution of marriage.

"I've never understood from the opposition how our relationship has any bearing on anyone else's," Baranovich said.

It's not just same-sex couples who face the inequality. One of the most emotional testimonies of the day was from 11 year old Dalia Zaki who says she gets teased at school because of her parents.

"I deal with lots of name calling," Zaki said.

She lives in Nevada with her two moms, while her biological dad and his partner live in California. She tells KOLO 8 News Now she hears slurs from her peers as well as some adults nearly every day. But she's not ashamed.

"I knew I had two moms and two dads, I just didn't fully understand why. As I've grown older, I've realized what I've always known-my house is full of love."

One Senator on the committee said it was time politics was removed from the issue.

“It’s time to stop playing politics with other people’s lives and let people decide what they want to do with their lives,” said Sen. Kelvin Atkinson, D-North Las Vegas.

The resolution has bi-partisan support and could pass the Senate. Because it is a constitutional amendment, SJR 13 would have to be passed by lawmakers this year, as well as in 2015 before being brought to voters on the 2016 ballot.

Baranovich and Sevick say if the resolution passes, they would be first in line to be married.

"It would be unbelievable, something I never thought I'd see in my lifetime," Baranovich said.


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