Two women who have raised 3 children
and have 4 grandchildren are at the center of a new federal lawsuit
to win marriage equality in Nevada.
Beverly Sevcik, 73, and Mary
Baranovich, 76, are the lead plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed Monday by
Lambda Legal and Education Fund on behalf of eight gay and lesbian
“They have seen each other through
thick and thin, in sickness and in health, and after four decades of
sharing a life together want to commemorate their love for each other
as other couples do: through marriage,” Lambda Legal wrote in a
Nevada lawmakers in 2009 overrode a
veto from then-Governor Jim Gibbons to approve domestic partnerships,
which provide gay couples some of the protections of marriage.
Lambda Legal staff attorney Tara
Borelli told gay weekly Metro
Weekly that the state's decision to deem gay couples “fit
for all the rights and responsibilities of marriage through a lesser
second-class status … shows just how irrational that state's
decision is to shut same-sex couples out of marriage.”
The case, Sevcik v. Sandoval,
represents a strategic legal shift for the legal group which in 2009
warned the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) against
pursuing litigation in federal court, saying a loss in the U.S.
Supreme Court would set back the marriage equality movement.
AFER, which has won two rounds in its
legal battle to have California's gay marriage ban, Proposition 8,
declared unconstitutional, is now supporting Lambda Legal in its case
with a $25,000 contribution to the plaintiffs' legal fund.
“This case, like our challenge to
Proposition 8, is about two things: marriage and equality,” AFER
attorney Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr said in a statement. “Our
Constitution guarantees all Americans the right to marry and the
right to be treated with equal dignity and respect under the law.
The Perry case and the new case in Nevada are important steps
in securing this fundamental freedom.”
The case's 7 other couples include
Antioco Carrillo and Theodore Small of Las Vegas, Karen Goody and
Karen Vibe of Reno, Fletcher Whitwell and Greg Flamer of Las Vegas,
Mikyla & Katrina Miller of Reno, Adele Terranova and Tara
Newberry of Las Vegas, Caren and Farrell Cafferata-Jenkins of Carson
City, and Megan Lanz and Sara Geiger of Las Vegas.