A domestic partnership bill is headed
towards the desk of Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons, a Republican, who
has promised to veto it.
The Las Vegas Sun is reporting
that senators approved an amended version of the bill along a voice
vote on Tuesday.
The bill would offer gay and straight
couples limited guaranteed benefits generally associated with
marriage, including matters such as community property and
responsibility for debts. Private business would not be required to
provide benefits such as health care to the domestic partner of an
employee. But many employers do voluntarily provide such benefits to
The Assembly tacked on several
amendments to the bill it approved by a vote of 26 in favor and 14
against on Friday. Senators agreed to the change Tuesday, which
included, among other things, the clarification that no
“solemnization ceremony” is required.
The final tally in the Senate is
unknown because senators voted by voice, but the Senate's original
vote fell two votes shy of the fourteen needed to override the
governor's veto. Leaving most to speculate that the bill is doomed.
Everyone, that is, except its sponsor.
Openly gay Senator David Parks, a
Democrat from Las Vegas, said last week that he has the fourteen
votes needed in the Senate to override a veto. But Parks also needs
to pick up two votes in the Assembly. Two members – one Democrat
and one Republican – were absent during the original vote.
Critics argue such unions are too
similar to marriage and go against the will of Nevada voters who
approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2002.
A Las Vegas Review-Journal poll
published this week showed half of all Nevadans surveyed oppose
domestic partnerships for both gay and straight couples. A large
majority (71%) of Republicans oppose such unions. The paper's
conclusions are based on the responses of 625 residents contacted by
telephone last week.
Nationwide, a large majority (67%) of
people agree that gay and lesbian couples deserve to have their
unions recognized, either by marriage, civil union or domestic
partnership, according to a recent CBS News/Washington Post