First state to allow gay marriage

Nevada voters overturned an 18-year-old ban on same-sex marriage, making the state the first to enshrine gay couples’ right to marry in its constitution.

Question 2 on Nevada ballots asked voters whether they support an amendment recognizing marriage “as between couples regardless of gender.”

The “Marriage Regardless of Gender Amendment” also asked if religious organizations and clergy retained the right “to refuse to solemnize a marriage.”

The results were 62 percent in favor and 38 percent against, according to the Nevada secretary of state, with more than three-fourths of the votes counted.

“It feels good that we let the voters decide,” Equality Nevada President Chris Davin told NBC News. “The people said this, not judges or lawmakers. This was direct democracy — it’s how everything should be.”

States across u.s. still cling to outdated gay marriage bans

Following years of failed attempts under Republican control, Virginia’s newly empowered Democrats finally passed bills repealing two outdated state laws that prohibited same-sex marriage. Sen. Adam Ebbin, the first openly gay lawmaker in the state’s General Assembly, introduced the bill, which was one of four pro-LGBTQ measures passed in the state this month.

“This is really just bringing Virginia into the 21st century,” Ebbin told The Washington Post shortly after the bills’ passage. “Voters showed us they wanted equality on Nov. 5, and the Senate of Virginia has started to deliver on that.”

Despite the Supreme Court’s landmark 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges making same-sex marriage the law of the land, most states still have outdated laws on their books like the ones Virginia just repealed.

Indiana is one of those states, though an attempt to remove its gay marriage ban was unsuccessful last month in the Republican-controlled state Legislature. In fact, GOP opposition to its removal derailed legislation seeking to raise the legal age to marry in the state from 15 to 18. An amendment had been added to the age-limit bill that sought to scrap the state’s 1997 law declaring: “Only a female may marry a male. Only a male may marry a female.”

“I did not think it was unreasonable to remove what is now null-and-void unconstitutional language from the code,” state Rep. Matt Pierce, a Democrat, said in defense of the amendment. “I didn’t think it would be that controversial, because this issue has been settled now. Apparently to the Republican caucus it is controversial.”

„The religious right has not said, ‚We lost same-sex marriage, and we are moving on.‘ They are still fighting same-sex marriage, both politically and legally.“

In Florida, Democratic legislators have been trying for years to repeal the state’s ban — which says “marriage” means “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife” — with no luck.

„This is not just, you know, unconstitutional and not just obsolete, but this is cruel language in our statute. So, it needs to get out of there,“ Rep. Adam Hattersley told WUSF Public Media, adding that members of the state’s Republican leadership “don’t have an appetite to fix something” that they “hope would come back into play in the future.”

Five years after the Supreme Court had its say on the issue, same-sex marriage remains a politically contentious issue, and LGBTQ advocates continue to battle in courtrooms and statehouses to ensure gay couples can exercise their right to marry.

After equal marriage, lgbt+ germans fight for the right to a family

STUTTGART, Germany (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – When German IT professional Sarah Kinzebach had her first child, it took six months of lengthy checks for her female partner to be legally recognized as a co-parent. Had her partner been a man, it would have happened automatically.

Germany recognized same-sex relationships in 2001, granting couples greater rights on inheritance, tax and other benefits, and legalized same-sex marriage in 2017 despite stiff opposition from conservative politicians and the Catholic church.

That made it possible for gay people to adopt in Germany, where only married couples are eligible. But same-sex couples who want to have a family still face barriers, both legal and cultural, in a country where conservative social values prevail.

“We had to go through a longwinded six-month stepchild adoption process for Vanessa to also be recognized as the mother,” said Kinzebach, 36, recalling visits to the child services department and financial and mental health checks.

The biological father – a friend of the couple – had to sign a legal undertaking giving up his rights to the child, now 6.

“This was a cause for such grief for my friend,” Kinzebach told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

As things stand, a married man can be automatically recognized as the father of a child even if he is not the biological parent under the concept of “fiktiver Vaterschaft”, or notional paternity.

The law has not yet caught up with the new reality of two women being married to each other.

But a bill expected to be presented to the Bundestag, German’s parliament, later this year would change this, allowing married lesbian couples to be automatically recognized as co-parents.

Green Party parliamentarian Ulle Schauws, a sponsor of the bill, said the existing law was “not in the child’s best interest” and was out of step with the principle of equal treatment enshrined in the German constitution.

“Unlike the case of heterosexual marriage, where the parental rights are automatically granted, a couple who has a child in a lesbian relationship has to undergo a lengthy procedure of stepchild adoption,” she said in an email.

Switzerland: same-sex marriage, transgender rights move a step forward

Switzerland has lagged behind other Western European countries on LGBT+ rights. A progressive rights bill may still have to face a public vote before becoming law.

Swiss lawmakers voted in favor of extending legal marriage rights to same-sex couples

Swiss lawmakers voted on Friday to legalize same-sex marriage and to simplify legal gender recognition procedures for transgender people.

Campaigners hailed the move as a major step forward for LGBT+ rights.

The gay marriage law is likely to be put to a nationwide referendum next year before taking effect, at the request of the Christian, ultra-conservative Federal Democratic Union party.

A global snapshot of same-sex marriage

Same-sex marriage has become legal in a growing number of countries in recent years.

The United Kingdom’s Parliament in London recently legalized same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, which had been the last UK constituent country to bar gay and lesbian couples from marrying. Same-sex marriages also became legal this year in Ecuador, Taiwan and Austria.

In a number of countries that have recently legalized same-sex marriage, the impetus for legal change came through the courts. For example, the May 17 vote in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan (the official name of the nation’s unicameral parliament) was prompted by a 2017 decision by the country’s Constitutional Court. In the United States, the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide in a 2015 ruling

Lgbtqi office in ghana: president nana akufo-addo say he no go legalize same-sex marriage

„For same-sex marriage to dey legal for Ghana, e no go happun for my time as president“ Akufo-Addo tok dis during di installation of di Second Archbishop of di Anglican Church of Ghana for St Micheals and All Angel’s Cathedral for Asante Mampong.

„I tok am before, and make I stress am again, e no go be under de Presidency of Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo wey same-sex marriage go dey legal“

Di President tok dey come as pressure dey on im goment to come clear and state dia position on activities of pipo wey identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer. (LGBTQ+) for di kontri.

Di tok about legalization or criminalization of homosexuality for Ghana don become debates among citizens, entertainers, religious bodies, politicians and human rights advocates for di kontri after goment order immediate closure of di headquarters of de LGBTQI community wey dem newly build.

Police for Ghana bin raid and close down de office of Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) group inside Accra last week and many pipo bin don criticize di goment for dat action.

Taiwan set to legalize gay marriage despite legislative hurdles

Taipei is due to take a series of decisive steps this week to legalize same-sex marriages before the May 24 deadline set by the island’s top court. However, deep divisions in public opinion may stall the process.

Over 1,500 pro-marriage equality supporters gathered outside Taiwan’s legislature earlier this week as lawmakers tried to smooth out differences among three competing draft bills on same-sex marriage. Many of the protesters are hoping to be able to legally marry their same-sex partners on May 24, the deadline to legalize homosexual marriages mandated by Taiwan’s constitutional court in a landmark ruling in 2017.

Gay rights organizations had hoped the government would legalize same-sex marriage by directly amending marriage clauses in the civil code, a step considered by many as the truest form of equality. However, the central government and Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) failed to propose any law or changes that would pave the way for the legalization of gay marriages following the court ruling.

With the lack of government action, anti-marriage equality groups initiated a number of referendums last year and voters overwhelmingly backed the notion of defining marriage purely as a union between a man and a woman, leaving little support for the government to legalize gay marriages.

On Friday, the legislature will vote on three draft bills to determine the fate of Taiwan’s three-decade-long fight for marriage equality. The government’s bill is viewed by most gay rights groups as the most progressive because it is the only bill that uses the word „marriage“ to define same-sex relationships and offers limited adoption rights to same-sex couples.

On the other hand, anti-marriage equality groups have proposed two other draft bills, which aim at using „same-sex union“ and „same-sex familial relationship“ to define a homosexual relationship, while only permitting a form of guardianship. One of the proposals even allows family members or relatives within three degrees of kinship from either side to request the annulment of homosexual relationships under the pretext of fake unions.

Read more: Taiwan LGBT activists press for right to marry

Hoping to reach a consensus on several controversial clauses, legislators gathered on Tuesday to closely review all three draft bills. However, discussions almost broke down after an opposition legislator backing one of the conservative draft laws claimed that he couldn’t accept the government’s version and demanded that his proposal be forwarded to the legislative session scheduled for Friday.

Additionally, legislators also failed to reach an agreement on critical issues such as the kind of relationship gay couples were permitted to have, how they would refer to each other and whether a person could adopt his or her partner’s non-biological children. Since all three draft bills failed to address the issue of transnational partnerships, one of the opposition parties, New Power Party (NPP), proposed to exempt same-sex couples from government regulations that didn’t allow Taiwanese LGBTQ individuals to have a legitimate relationship with partners from countries where gay marriage was not permitted.

On the same day, Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen came out to support the government’s draft bill, calling it a version that combined demands from all sides. She admitted that same-sex marriage remained a highly divisive issue in Taiwan, but also called on all sides to respect different opinions.

History of state-level gay marriage bans

States have two types of bans on same-sex marriage: statutory and constitutional. Statutory bans appear in state family law, while constitutional bans are embedded in states’ constitutions.

“Most of them are still on the books, though they are not enforceable,” Jason Pierceson, a political science professor at the University of Illinois Springfield, told NBC News.

“Democratic control of legislatures has created opportunities to get rid of some bans,” Pierceson said. “That’s the big difference between Indiana and Virginia.”

Compliance issues

Even after Obergefell, there have been a number of instances over the past five years where state and local officials have refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Just a few months after the ruling, a Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis, garnered national attention for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Davis, who went to jail for her refusal, has since retired after losing re-election in 2018. In 2019, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that, although Davis was immune from being sued as a county official, she could be sued in her individual capacity for refusing to comply with the law.

Hole-y matrimony

Since the legalization of same-sex marriage federally, hundreds of state bills have been introduced that poke holes in gay marriage in various ways.

“The religious right has not said, ‘We lost same-sex marriage, and we are moving on,’” Pierceson said. “They are still fighting same-sex marriage, both politically and legally.”

Equality Federation, an LGBTQ social justice group, is tracking nine marriage bills that affect same-sex marriage across seven states: Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee.

Colorado had been on this list until just last week, when advocates defeated five bills they described as being anti-LGBTQ. One of them, House Bill 1272, had proposed that existing state law — which still stipulates that marriage is between one man and one woman — be enforced as written, and that no judicial rulings, including those from the U.S. Supreme Court, should influence their enforcement.

HB 1272 also sought to restrict adoption to “marriages and civil unions that consist of one man and one woman.” This could have called into question the legal parental status of Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who in 2018 became the first openly gay man elected governor in the U.S.; he and his same-sex partner are not married and have two children together.

North Carolina and Tennessee are considering marriage bills similar to the one Colorado just killed. However, the majority of the bills introduced that target same-sex marriage have fallen within the “religious exemption” category, according to Pierceson.

InMassachusetts, one proposal asserts that the belief that marriage is only between one man and one woman is a protected religious belief and thus prohibits the government from “discriminating” against state employees or businesses that act on this belief.

Bills in Kansas, South Dakota and Tennessee draw on the idea of the separation of church and state in their proposals. These bills define marriage as between one man and one woman and argue that to mandate otherwise is tantamount to state sponsorship of the religion of “secular humanism.”

A bill in Iowa creates a new category of “elevated marriage,” defined as one man and one woman, and it stipulates distinct and additional vows and paperwork. A separate Iowa proposal would require applicants for marriage licenses to disclose their sexual orientation, which could be used in child custody cases.

How safe is gay marriage?

More than 10 percent of LGBTQ adults were legally married in June 2017, just two years after the Obergefell ruling, according to Gallup, and the number is likely even higher now. In addition, public opinion has shifted strongly in favor of same-sex marriage, with a 2019 Gallup poll finding 63 percent of Americans approve of such unions.

“Absolutely not,” Kadi said, “especially given the current makeup of the Supreme Court.”

“I think in the short term marriage is fairly safe. It’s hard to see the Supreme Court overturn itself in the next couple of years,” he said, though he added that he is less confident about its long-term safety.

“The religious right, conservative movements and the Republican Party are hoping for an overturning of Obergefell with a more conservative judiciary,” Pierceson said.

Adoption

The problems faced by Kinzebach and her partner are illustrative of the broader difficulties for same-sex parents in Germany, where surrogacy is banned and domestic adoptions are relatively rare.

Some have said they feel the system still discriminates against them because official attitudes have not changed in line with the law granting equal marriage rights.

The issue of adoption by same-sex couples loomed large in the debate over whether to allow same-sex marriage in Germany, and it remains controversial.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who voted against the bill but allowed her lawmakers to follow their own conscience, said at the time that she had become convinced same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt.

But education minister Anja Karliczek said last year there was a need for further study of the long-term impact on children growing up in same-sex homes.

Many lesbian couples have reported difficulties like those Kinzebach described.

“Our social worker seemed so worried that there was no father in the picture,” said Cheron Singleton, 32, who used donor sperm to have a baby with her female partner.

“We did get the feeling that she thought it wasn’t a good idea to bring a child into the world without a father.”

The issue is not unique to Germany – many countries that have equal marriage laws ban the use of paid surrogates, meaning gay men who want to have a family are often reliant on adoption.

More and more are extending adoption rights to same-sex couples, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) said in its latest annual report.

Same-sex adoption is permitted across the United States, although laws in some states make it more difficult, and both France and Britain also allow adoption by same-sex couples.

In Germany, one alternative is long-term fostering, which can eventually lead to adoption – as in the case of Michael and Kai Korok, who were among the first same-sex couples to marry in 2017 and adopted their 2-year-old foster son shortly after.

Last autumn, Francois Dupont and his husband Frank along with their two foster children found themselves in the national media spotlight in Germany.

On the first anniversary of the passing of the marriage equality law, they were cast as the ideal gay nuclear family.

But Dupont said conservative attitudes persisted among officials.

“If you’ve an uncommon character quirk, if you have colored hair or tattoos or piercings, it doesn’t inspire confidence with the child service officials,” he said.

Looking to the future, Dupont said the media focus on his family had helped raise the visibility of fostering through the country’s Jugendamt – or child services – among same-sex couples.

“There is a lot of stigma because these children come from families with issues,” he said. “But I think gay couples should make an attempt. These children need loving homes.”

Reporting by Prathap Nair; Editing by Hugo Greenhalgh and Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters that covers humanitarian news, women’s and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit bear-magazine.com

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays.

What did lawmakers vote for?

The marriage bill has seen multiple rounds of debate since 2013. The approved wording of the bill allows gays and lesbians to marry. It will also allow lesbians to access sperm donations.

Under current legislation, same-sex couples can enter into „registered partnerships.“ This does not provide the same rights as marriage, including rights to obtain citizenship and the joint adoption of children.

Lawmakers also voted to simplify legal name and gender marker changes on identity documents. Trans and intersex people will now be able to do this by making a declaration at civil registry offices without the need for a court or a doctor. This is known as „self-ID,“ according to the advocacy group Transgender Europe.

Currently, both children and adults have to apply to a court to change their gender that can cost up to CHF1,000 (€924, $1,130).

The minimum age for legal changes to gender without parental consent was set at 16.

Lgbt+ bill ‚a milestone‘

„This is not only a milestone in the fight for the rights of the Swiss LGBT population but also an important victory for their dignity, their acceptance and their inclusion in society,“ Marriage For All, a campaign group, said on its website.

„On the one hand, we’re super happy there will be this legal gender recognition based on self-determination, in a very quick and simple procedure,“ said Alecs Recher, the head of legal services at Transgender Network Switzerland, an advocacy group.

However, Recher told Reuters news agency that the age limit was „a step back for those under 16.“

Will there be a referendum?

Opponents now have 100 days to collect the 50,000 signatures needed to trigger a referendum on the same-sex marriage bill.

A survey commissioned by a gay advocacy group Pink Cross in February showed more than 80% of Swiss support same-sex marriage, suggesting the law would likely take effect.

First gay pride event

A mural depicts the legs of drag queen Sylvia Rivera. She may or may not have been at the Stonewall Inn in New York City in June 1969, when drag queens and other patrons fought back against police harassment. The Stonewall riots, a series of clashes that marked the beginning of the LGBT+ rights movement. It’s unclear who threw the first brick — or high heel; it doesn’t appear to have been Rivera.

Father of the ‚pride wave‘

Antonello Sonnino, 42, is Arcigay Italy’s sports spokesperson. He began his career as an activist after the 2010 death of Marcella Di Folco, a leader in Italy’s LGBT+ rights movement who also starred in movies directed by Fellini and Rossellini. Sonnino presided over Arcigay Naples for six years and came up with the idea for the „Pride Wave,“ a joint political platform for all LGBT+ marches.

Student support

The University of Naples Federico II set up a help desk, the Synapse Center, where Daniela Lourdes Falanga also works, to support and promote the active and full participation of LGBT+ students. The university was the first in Italy to grant students an „alias career,“ which allows them to decide how they want their gender to be defined and to use the name they prefer.

‚love and nothing else‘

„This illiterate heart you brought to school, and learned to write and learned to read one word: ‚Love‘ and nothing else.“ The verses of a poem by Neapolitan actor Antonio De Curtis, best known by his stage name Toto, illuminate a street in Rione Sanita, one of the neighborhoods with the highest number of transgender people of Naples.

Daphne & kenny: ‚once the law passes, we have further protection‘

Daphne and Kenny are getting married at the end of the year. Five months after Kenny went on her knees to propose to Daphne at a rally of thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples on Taipei’s largest boulevard, both are trying on wedding outfits. Until now, same-sex couples in some Taiwanese jurisdictions were able to register as partners…

Daniel cho and chin tsai: ‚we will be the first in line‘

…although the rights available to them were often limited compared to married heterosexual couples. This couple is hopeful: „Daniel relocated to New York for his job, but since the Taiwanese government doesn’t recognize our relationship, I can’t apply for a spousal visa to go with him. If the law passes, we will be the first in line to the registry of marriages.“

Hare lin & cho chia-lin: ‚taiwan can be changed‘

Hare Lin, who works as a publisher and Cho Chia-lin, a writer, believe in an open minded world: „When I first held the gay parade in 2003, there were only around a thousand people, but a few years later, the march was attended by 50 to 60 thousand,“ Lin says. „Also there are gay artists, politicians, council members, and even a presidential candidate. I believe this world can be changed.“

Gay rights activist chi chia-wei: ‚will continue our efforts‘

Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen, whose cabinet includes the island’s first transgender minister, said on Twitter: „Resolving differences is a start – more dialogue and understanding are needed.“ Gay rights activist Chi Chia-wei (pictured above) approves: „If Taiwan refuses to improve, we will continue our efforts and make a rainbow country. Even a revolution.“

Wang yi & meng yu-mei: ‚ taiwan is a democratic country‘

Taiwan is famed for an annual gay pride parade that showcases the vibrancy of its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Artist Wang Yi says: „You think we want to go through all of this hardship? We have difficult relationships with our parents. But I felt the discussion of same-sex marriage is what a free country should do under the rule of law. The discussion is fair.“

Huang chen-ting & lin chi-xuan: ‚fighting for fair treatment‘

Huang Chen-ting and Lin Chi-xuan fool around: „We are the same as heterosexuals. Discrimination has taken many forms, from the skin color of black slaves in the past, to sexual orientation at the moment, but all of us are human beings. We all fight for fair treatment,“ Chi-xuan says. Recent polls showed a majority of the Taiwanese population supports same-sex marriage.

Huang zi-ning and kang xin: ‚we are the next generation‘

Students Huang Zi-ning and Kang Xin pose for a selfie in Taoyuan. „Anti same-sex marriage groups say they are against us because they want to protect the next generation. But I am the next generation. Why do they listen to those who are about to die instead of our voices? We need to speak out,“ says Zi-ning.

Most anti-marriage equality campaigners do not approve of the draft bill proposed by the government, as the bill’s second clause uses „same-sex marriage“ to define homosexual relationships. In their opinion, it is clearly disrespectful of last year’s referendum result. Yu Shin-yi of the Coalition for the Happiness of our Next Generation, an anti-gay marriage group, told DW that the government was „bullying“ the public’s opinion by proposing a draft bill that contained the word „marriage.“

According to her, the government’s decision of not including referendum results from last year was „a clear sign that they are prioritizing political consideration over the public’s collective opinions.“

However, while the shape of the final legislation remains largely uncertain, gay rights activists are demanding that legislators focus on passing the government’s draft bill on Friday. Jennifer Lu, chief coordinator of Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, told DW that the government’s version was already a „compromised version“ for gay rights groups. She hoped the ruling party would make the right decision to back the government’s draft bill. „After all, if the ruling party fails to pass the government’s version on Friday, it’ll be a big blow to their credibility,“ she said.

Taiwan says „yes“ to gay marriage

Victoria Hsu, the chairperson of Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, thinks the legislative session on Friday will become a „voting competition“ between different parties. For her, the inclusion of the phrase, „same-sex marriage,“ and same-sex couples‘ adoption rights would be a test of the ruling party’s commitment to the issue.

„If the legislature decides to use ’same-sex union‘ or other names to define same-sex marriage, it could cause same-sex couples to not be properly registered as ‚married couples,'“ Hsu explained to DW, adding that this „would be a clear violation of the constitution, and if it happens, it would mean the ruling party has failed to effectively utilize its majority in the legislature.“

Hsu vows to request for another constitutional court interpretation if the legislature passes a bill that doesn’t grant same-sex couples full marriage rights. „The constitutional court’s ruling in 2017 has clearly defined not giving same-sex couples the right to get married as unconstitutional, but If I have to take the same issue to the constitutional court again, I will do it,“ Hsu told DW. However, that would „make Taiwan a joke“ globally, since it would mean repeating the whole process, she added.

Hsu thinks the government and ruling party should also consider possible political responses to Friday’s legislative decision, emphasizing that many have been expecting the legislature to pass a same-sex marriage bill that would put a temporary end to discussions about the divisive issue in Taiwan.

„The LGBTQ community and their supporters would be very angry if the legislature passed a same-sex marriage bill that’s unconstitutional,“ Hsu said, adding, „In that case, I think the controversy could have an impact on the 2020 presidential election and put Taiwan’s civil society, LGBTQ community and the ruling party in disadvantageous positions.“

Nbc outsarah mcbride to become first transgender state senator in u.s. history

It was a voter referendum in 2002 that originally changed the Nevada Constitution to define marriage as between “a male and female person.”

A domestic partnership law was passed by the Legislature in 2009, overriding a veto by then-Gov. Jim Gibbons.

Same-sex marriage wasn’t recognized in the state until 2014, after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled bans in Nevada and Idaho violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

A year later, the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges invalidated same-sex marriage bans nationwide.

But supporters of Question 2 say it’s more than a mere formality.

“It’s the fix we need to make here,” André Wade, head of Silver State Equality, which worked to promote Question 2, told KTNV-TV on Tuesday. “We have discriminatory language in the constitution, and we need to take it out. We know Nevadans value equality, and we want our constitution to mirror that.”

Nbc outritchie torres becomes first gay afro latino elected to congress

Davin said members of the LGBTQ community wanted something concrete to protect same-sex marriage in case „the federal level ever revokes it — which is what a lot of folks are worried about with the new Supreme Court.”

The initiative long predated the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, whom some believe will move to overturn Obergefell along with the high court’s other conservative justices. The Nevada Legislature, which only convenes every two years, originally approved the ballot measure in 2017. It was introduced by two openly gay lawmakers, former state Assemblyman Nelson Araujo and outgoing state Sen. David Parks.

“Our state is very proactive on policies that protect the LGBTQ community, and it was important to continue that effort,” Araujo, 33, told NBC News.

He credits a broad coalition of progressive groups for its passage, as well as cross-aisle support from Republicans like state Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, who endorsed Question 2 in an op-ed in The Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“It was a bold move, and I commend them,” said Aruajo, now state director for state Sen. Jackie Rosen. “It goes to show we’re a pragmatic state — this is just another example of us putting aside partisanship to do what’s right.”

Nbc outa more conservative court hears same-sex foster parent case

Aruajo is engaged himself, and said he can’t stop smiling from ear to ear when he thinks about “how far our state has come.”

Nevada is one at least of 30 states that passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The first was Hawaii in 1998, and the last was North Carolina in 2012. Since then public opinion has shifted dramatically, and 70 percent of Americans now support the right of gay couples to wed, according to an October poll by the Public Religion Research Institute.

A June report by 24/bear-magazine.com, a financial news website, ranked Nevada as the best state for LGBTQ people. Now that the state has changed its constitution, Davin is certain others will follow.

“People look at Nevada — at Las Vegas, at Reno — as a place where everyone comes to get married,” he said. “And the people of Nevada are saying, ‘We don’t care who you marry.’”

Nbc outlgbtq tennesseans are ’saddened,‘ ‚disappointed‘ by new adoption law

There were two phases of same-sex marriage bans, according to Pierceson. The first one began in the 1970s, when gay couples would apply for marriage licenses and many state judges at the time ruled that these unions were not prohibited. This prompted lawmakers to explicitly outlaw same-sex marriage. In 1973, Maryland became the first state to do so. Other states quickly followed, with Arizona Oklahoma passing similar laws in 1975, andCaliforniaWyoming and Utah doing so in 1977.

The second phase followed a 1993 Hawaii Supreme Court decision that found denying same-sex couples the right to marry may violate the equal protection clause of the state’s constitution. That ruling prompted state and federal lawmakers to take action.

Utah was first to enact a statutory ban in response to that decision in 1995, and then a year later, Congress passed the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman. Several states adopted their own “mini-DOMAs” after that, according to Pierceson, and by the year 2000, he said “virtually every state,” with the exception of New Mexico, had a “statutory ban on same-sex marriage.” These “mini-DOMAs,” he noted, banned gay marriage in family codes and state law, not the constitution.

In 1998, Hawaii became the first state to pass a constitutional amendment specifically targeting same-sex marriage. The measure empowered the legislature to enact a ban, which it did that same year through a constitutional referendum. Ultimately, 30 more states adopted constitutional amendments prohibiting gay marriage.

While the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision overrides all of those state measures, many of them, particularly the state constitutional amendments, remain on the books for one reason or another. In some cases, there is a lack of political willingness to remove them, while in others, the labor-intensive removal process makes them a low priority.

In Virginia, for example, while the two statutory laws banning same-sex marriage have been repealed, the state’s 2006 constitutional amendment prohibiting gay unions remains for the time being. This is because amendments must pass both the state Senate and House of Delegates and be approved by Virginia voters.

Lawmakers in Nevada will allow voters to decide whether to strike down that state’s constitutional ban at the ballot box in November. Any constitutional amendment in Nevada requires such a statewide vote.

“In Colorado we got a whole host of things to work on from transportation to education to housing to access to heath care, but instead of being able to dedicate all our resources to things like access to HIV-prevention medications, we have to allocate staff time and resource just to be able fight these bills.”

Sheena Kadi, deputy director of the LGBTQ advocacy group One Colorado, told NBC News that her organization has been having internal conversations for years about what to do with the state’s constitutional ban, which has been on the books since 2006 but would, in her estimate, take three to five years to remove it.

“We can take the first step through the Legislature, but then we would need a ballot initiative to remove that from the state Constitution,” she said. Given the organization’s other priorities, Kadi said going after the unenforceable constitutional amendment just seemed like too much work.

Pierceson said that in Colorado and a number of other states, having these amendments removed isn’t necessarily easy, as a number of conservative lawmakers are happy to keep them for both symbolic and political reasons.

“Many Republicans and the religious right hope Obergefell will be overturned, and then their state would go back to banning same-sex marriage, potentially,” he said.

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In early 2016, Roy Moore, then the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, prohibited probate judges in the state from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Moore, who is currently running for a U.S. Senate seat from Alabama, was suspended from his judicial duties in September 2016 over his gay marriage order. And just last year — following the persistent refusal of a number of Alabama probate judges to issue marriage licenses to any couples so they wouldn’t have to issue them go same-sex couples — the state passed a workaround bill that no longer requires a judge’s signature on marriage licenses.

Just last year in Texas, a Waco-based judge was issued a public warning by the state Commission on Judicial Misconduct for her yearslong refusal to perform same-sex weddings. The judge, Dianne Hensley, responded by suing the commission, claiming it violated her rights under the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, declined to defend the state agency in the lawsuit because its actions conflict with his views of the Constitution.

„We believe judges retain their right to religious liberty when they take the bench,“ Paxton’s spokesperson, Marc Rylander, said in a statement at the time.

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In Missouri, one lawmaker proposed replacing all marriage licenses with domestic union contracts. The measure, House Bill 2173, has drawn opposition from both LGBTQ advocates and proponents of “traditional marriage.”

“Still seeing attempts to invalidate love and invalidate families and those protections that come along with it is frustrating,” Kadi said. “In Colorado we got a whole host of things to work on from transportation to education to housing to access to heath care, but instead of being able to dedicate all our resources to things like access to HIV-prevention medications, we have to allocate staff time and resource just to be able fight these bills.”

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Kadi noted that President Donald Trump has appointed more than 50 circuit court judges in his first term. And while Trump claimed to be a “real friend” to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people during the 2016 campaign, Kadi said his administration is “no ally to the LGBTQ community.”

“We have seen this impact not only the Supreme Court but the lower courts as well,” she said of Trump-appointed judges, many of whom have come under criticism for their anti-LGBTQ track records.

“It’s only a matter of time before we see another challenge“ to same-sex marriage, he said. „That is why we have to stay vigilant.”

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“Because we’ve voted red for so long in a lot of presidential elections, it got this reputation for being a really conservative state. But there are some things in our state that show that we are progressive.”

Despite the 2015 Supreme Court ruling, 30 states still had provisions against gay marriage written in their constitutions before election day.

In 2002, voters in Nevada passed a ballot defining marriage as only between a man and a woman. The provision had been fought through the years by Nevada’s LGBT+ community and allies and in 2014 the US Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the ban.

Now, with the wording removed from the constitution, Nevada’s LGBT+ community is in high spirits.

“If you look in terms of LGBTQ policy right now, Nevada is kind of a rock star … In 20 years the climate of the state has totally shifted,” YeVonne Allen, a local LGBT+ activist, told the .

„Nevada has led the way in the nation on LGBTQ+ protections, and yesterday’s passage of Ballot Question 2 is yet another big step forward and important protection now afforded LGBTQ+ Nevadans,” Andre Wade, director of Silver State Equality, said in a statement.  

“Silver State Equality applauds Nevadans who voted overwhelmingly to amend the state’s constitution to recognise all marriages, regardless of gender, by removing the phrase ‘only a marriage between a male and a female person shall be recognised and given effect in this state’ and instead, enshrine the principles of marriage equality to which all Nevadans are entitled and deserve.”

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Nevada has become the first US state to protect gay marriage in its constitution.

By a two-thirds majority, voters passed a ballot to remove a provision in Nevada’s constitution stating only marriage between a man and a woman could be recognised by the state.

The provision had not been enforceable since 2015 when the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of same-sex marriage, making it a right across the entire country.

Nevada’s removal of the provision from the state constitution means that same-sex marriage rights would be protected in the Silver State even if federal law were to change in the future.

“I am just so elated that Nevada is the first state to take that stand and my community has taken that stand,” Nevada resident Lyric Burt told the .  

Interactive: same-sex marriage around the world

Explore our fact sheet to learn more about same-sex laws around the world.

Worldwide, most of the countries that allow gay marriage are in Western Europe. Still, a number of Western European nations, including Italy and Switzerland, do not allow same-sex unions. And, so far, no countries in Central and Eastern Europe have legalized gay marriage.

Along with New Zealand and Australia, Taiwan is one of only three nations in the Asia-Pacific region that has legalized same-sex unions. In Africa, only South Africa allows gays and lesbians to wed, which became legal in 2006.

In the Americas, five countries besides Ecuador and the U.S. – Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia and Uruguay – have legalized gay marriage. In addition, some jurisdictions in Mexico allow same-sex couples to wed.

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