The Nevada Assembly on Thursday
approved a constitutional amendment which seeks to legalize gay
marriage in the state.
The chamber approved the measure with a
bipartisan vote of 27 to 14.
Senator Tick Segerblom's joint
resolution originally sought only to remove from the Nevada
constitution the state's definition of marriage approved by voters in
2002 which states, “Only a marriage between a male and female
person shall be recognized and given effect in this state.” But a
last-minute amendment adopted earlier in the Senate committee phase
added that the state “shall recognize marriages and issue marriage
licenses, regardless of gender.”
The Senate approved the resolution last
debate on the Senate floor, Senator Kelvin Atkinson, a Democrat from
Las Vegas, came out gay.
“Lawmakers in Nevada took a huge step
toward undoing a discriminatory amendment that never should have been
written into the state constitution and advancing the freedom to
marry,” Marc Solomon, campaign director of Freedom to Marry, said
in a statement. “We look forward to the day that Nevada couples
join those in the 12 other marriage states in being able to make a
lifelong commitment to the person they love.”
The amendment must return to the
Legislature for a second round of votes after the next election,
making 2016 the earliest it could reach voters.
Nevada currently recognizes gay and
lesbian couples with domestic partnerships. As of April 1, 4,157
couples have entered the union, though some are opposite-sex.