In a stunning – and unexpected – come-from-behind victory for gay rights advocates, Nevada lawmakers have passed a domestic partnership bill over the objections of Governor Jim Gibbons, the AP reported.

Assemblymembers agreed 28 to 14 Sunday – and Senators 14 to 7 Saturday – on the controversial bill that offers gay and straight couples limited benefits associated with marriage, including matters such as community property and responsibility for debt.

Both votes barely nudged the two-thirds majority needed to override the governor's decision.

“What a historic and amazing day for Nevada's LGBT citizens,” said Tod Story, a board member of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada. “Committed couples in Nevada who currently cannot get married or choose not to get married will now have the option of domestic partner legal protections granted by and recognized in our state. Nevada's tradition of libertarian independence and self-determination continues with the passage of this law and these rights.”

Passage of openly gay Senator David Park's bill by override was unexpected. Four lawmakers – two from each chamber – flipped their previous no vote to yes.

In the Senate, two Republican senators, Dean Rhoads of Tuscarora and Dennis Nolan of Las Vegas, joined Democrats in approving the legislation.

Nolan said he received many “ugly, vulgar and threatening messages” from opponents of the bill.

In the Assembly, two Las Vegas Democrats came on board to seal the deal for gay rights advocates. Marilyn Kirkpatrick altered her previous no vote, while Jerry Claborn, who had been absent during the original vote, voted in favor of the override.

Gaming leaders, including gambling giant Harrah's Entertainment, had mounted a lobbying campaign in support of the bill, saying a boycott of the state by gay and lesbian groups could devastate the state's economy, especially in tourism dependent Las Vegas.

Critics of the bill had argued that 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.

“We are saying to our citizens their votes do not matter,” state Senator Maurice Washington, a Republican from Sparks and a minister, said. “This bill is a slap in the face against the people of this great state.”

Parks, a Democrat from Las Vegas, said passage showed the state could be progressive and thanked supporters.

“I could never have done it alone,” Parks said. “It was a wonderful, concerted effort on the part of lots and lots of people, right down to lobbyists who didn't have anything to gain from it but thought it was the right thing to do.”

Nevada's domestic partnership registry is the second major legislative bill to become law against the wishes of a governor this session. In April, Vermont lawmakers barely managed to override a gay marriage bill veto by Republican Governor Jim Douglas.

The new law goes into effect on October 1.