The Nevada legislature has successfully passed two gay rights bills, one that outlaws job discrimination based on sexual orientation, and another that establishes domestic partnerships for gay couples.
But Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons has said he will veto the domestic partnership bill, which would give same-sex couples equal rights to married partners in areas like estate planning, medical decisions, community property and child custody.
"The governor believes that government has no business in your medicine chest or your bedroom," spokesperson Daniel Burns said. With good reason: Gibbons who filed for divorce in 2008, allegedly had having an affair with playboy model Leslie Durant, as well as sending more than 860 text messages to another woman, Kathy Karrasch, from his state-owned cell phone. When Gibbons was running for governor, he was accused of sexually assaulting a cocktail waitress.
The spokesman added, however, that Gibbons "also believes there are existing contracts that can be created, so no change to the law is needed. If there are people who want to be domestic partners, they can do so under existing laws ... He is also mindful of the fact that voters of this state on two occasions have said that marriage is between a man and a woman, and it's part of our Constitution."
Nevada voted for a constitutional amendment in 2000 and again in 2002 that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The new bill specifically states that domestic partnership is not a marriage.
The Nevada state legislature may have the chance to override Gibbons's veto, says bill sponsor Sen. David Parks.
Gibbons will have up to five days to veto it and return it to the Legislature, where an override vote is expected. An override requires a two-thirds majority in both houses.
Parks said he has the votes for an override.
The bill originally passed the Senate on a 12-9 vote, two short of two-thirds. It passed the Assembly 26-14 with two members absent and would need 28 votes to override.