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Nevada same-sex marriage bill amended to protect churches

Friday, April 19, 2013

CARSON CITY, Nev. — A proposal seeking to clear the way for same-sex marriage in Nevada was amended Friday by the state Senate in a move designed to make it more acceptable to some lawmakers who struggled with their religious convictions.

The amendment offered by Sen. Pat Spearman, a lesbian minister, states: “Religious organizations and clergy have the right to refuse to solemnize a marriage and no person has the right to make any claim against a religious organization or clergy for such a refusal.”

Nevada state capitol in Carson City.Source

Spearman (D-North Las Vegas), said she hoped the amendment would ease concerns and ensure colleagues that religious protections “would not be denied.”

The amendment was approved on an 11-10 party-line vote with Democrats in favor. Senate Joint Resolution 13 now goes to the Senate floor for a vote early next week.

Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis (D-Las Vegas), was one lawmaker who grappled with the proposal. Denis is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

After the vote, Denis said he believes the amendment addresses concerns raised by a number of groups about protecting religious covenants.

“I think that it accomplishes that,” he said.

Sen. Michael Roberson of Henderson, the Republican minority leader, wouldn’t comment as he left the chamber.

But Sen. Greg Brower (R-Reno), said he voted against the amendment because he hadn’t had sufficient time to consider it. He was noncommittal when asked if he’d support the resolution as a whole when it was brought up for vote.

Sen. Scott Hammond (R-Las Vegas), said he opposes it because he doesn’t believe lawmakers should set in motion the undoing of an initiative process that led to the ratification of the Protection of Marriage Act in 2002. That constitutional amendment defines marriage in Nevada as between a man and a woman.

Original language in SJR13 sought only to repeal that law. But it was amended in committee explicitly sanction same-sex marriage.

SJR13 needs to be approved by lawmakers this year and in 2015. It would then go to voters in 2016.

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43 more reader comments:

  1. OY

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:43pm
  2. Key example of the accepting and tolerant practicing their credo to the unaccepting and intolerant.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:44pm
  3. Sheesh it’s like we are forcing them to wed gays, they just want to pay and lament like the rest of us

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:45pm
  4. that’s pretty standard fare for marriage bills. they don’t have a prayer of passing (pardon the pun) unless they have exemptions for churches.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:45pm
  5. who cares about people’s religions accepting us or our marriage, we are used to thousands of years of hate, judgement and wars from people and their “religious” ways…

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:46pm
  6. I should care about lawmakers religious convictions WHY??

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:47pm
  7. I know it’s dumb, but it shuts up opponents. So, this redundancy is fine with me! :-)

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:49pm
  8. I agree With Brian…Who cares… in the long run, it doesnt mean a thing.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:50pm
  9. Unacceptable, and certainly not good enough,not by a long shot. These types of partial equality proposals are nothing more than a bone being thrown to the gay community: “See, we don’t hate you. We don’t discriminate. Now,here’s what you deserve and what we’ll give you. Take it or leave it.”First of all, no one’s religious beliefs should have any place at the table when American citizen rights-which are a matter of law,not personal religious beliefs-are being considered, legislated or voted on. Second, this is nothing more than separate but equal, the same way it use to be for other minorities…”Oh, no, they can’t live in my neighborhood, work at my office,attend my church, go to school with my kids,but they can do all this in their own parts of town…” Pure and utter bullshit then, and now. This is why Federal legislation is needed, it is the only way to give us equal and full American citizen rights on every speck of US soil.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:50pm
  10. eh… yeah Agreed with Jokie, even though churches shouldn’t be involved in this at all lol.. could get married at your house or family house or something like that.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:52pm
  11. I thought it was standard practice churches could turn away anyone they wanted? For instance the Roman Catholic Church will not marry a couple if either has been divorced. So, I’m fine with that/

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:52pm
  12. Why would the bill need to be amended to protect Churches???
    Like any other Business maybe they could just put up a sign saying,
    “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”…:)

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:53pm
  13. why the hell – how much would people hate it if the made the same thing for churches not wanting to do interracial marriage based on religious belief – come on idiots

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:57pm
  14. that little sign means nothing when the state has anti-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation (which includes nevada)

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:59pm
  15. Because it’s the rights of churches everyone should be concerned about…

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:59pm
  16. a lot of biblicists always want their state to protect them

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:59pm
  17. Protect churches from what, their own stupid bigotry?

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 3:04pm
  18. your argument makes no sense. it’s not “partial equality.” you don’t want churches to force their “anti-gay marriage” beliefs on us, but you want to force them to solemnize gay marriages? church exemptions make sense when it comes to marriage equality.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 3:05pm
  19. The churches want their freedom while at the same time standing with their hands out to get government money through the Faith Based Initiative. If you take federal money, then you must follow federal laws. Discrimination is against the law. Period.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 3:05pm
  20. It is partial because I do not believe churches can deny marriage to any other American, such as a black person, a Latin, an Asian,though they certainly used to be able to and did so every chance they got…the only way this partial equality is even thought of as acceptable is precisely because we are not being granted full American citizen rights, we are being granted partial rights. Not to mention that any person’s religious beliefs have no place in matters of law.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 3:07pm
  21. Because we are American citizens and though there will always be those who hate us, we are entitled to the exact same rights as every other American citizen.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 3:08pm
  22. Divorced people enjoy equality as American citizens despite being divorced, and no one knows if you are divorced, but they sure know if two men or two women want to be married in a given church,hence the difference…equality for all Americans is not about religion,though it has been made to be about that,it is about being an American citizen,which says it all: we are all equal, or should be and someday will be.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 3:14pm
  23. It does matter the 1st Amendment protects religous institutions from government interference just as much as it is supposed to protect the people from interference of the religous institution. To say otherwise is hypocritical.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 3:19pm
  24. They never set out laws to protect the damn church’s when they allowed mixed race couples to marry. How is it any different for us?

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 3:20pm
  25. If a church doesn’t want to marry me- I would not want to marry in that church

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 3:23pm
  26. Protect the richest and most powerful evil bigots? B Please!!

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 3:27pm
  27. It’s funny because no one gives a shit about their feelings on the matter. Their feelings > People’s humanity, bye.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 3:37pm
  28. Equality is not a belief or a personal opinion;it is the absolute right of-for the purposes of this post-every American and needs no justification,defense,validation and will stand no compromise or bargaining on who is equal and who is not. Legislating personal beliefs of any kind that include selective equality,exclusion,intolerance and discrimination are not a right,they are a fundamental wrong being practiced and promoted in this nation. Marriage equality is just a small part of American citizen rights for the American gay community; it is being presented as the entire equality package as a distraction.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 3:42pm
  29. It means a lot; it means that we are not good enough to be given full citizen rights; it means we are not full and equal American citizens except in selected states,localities and venues. It means as much as if states were allowed to legislate against freedom of religion state by state and locality by locality, forbidding this church or that religion from being allowed to practice in their state. Citizen rights are not a matter for debate or compromise, or should not be.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 3:46pm
  30. Churches need no protection if anything we need to make steps to see that there are less of them, mostly the hate spewing ones.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 3:48pm
  31. .,let them have their religious protection clause… as long as it pass… i’m still waiting for illinois, oregon, rhode island, new jersey, hawaii, delaware, ohio, and new mexico to legalize it…

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 3:54pm
  32. let them have their church weddings… its an even ground that will take away any argument the church has…

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 4:02pm
  33. Indeed.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 4:10pm
  34. Keeping the Church separate from the State works for me. When the church gets involved in legislation that might affect the church, fine. But when the cross the line and get involved in legislation that affects civil freedom, civil equal rights, then they need to be treated as though they were not a church.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 4:56pm
  35. It’s a strange culture that we live in that will still claim that a marriage is God’s design, yet one can marry in a court, one can get married by anyone with permission to do so by the state. And, get this, even atheist can marry. Somehow, all these things are without religious intent and still it’s a legal recognized marriage by the state.

    Even with that, a church or minister has always had the right to deny performing a marriage. Either they don’t agree with the partnership, not members of the church or mixed faiths. This only protects something that honestly they have been doing. Only now, it makes discrimination lawful.

    Oh, that is truly defining love.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 5:06pm
  36. Jesus didn’t reject ANYONE. All are children of God.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 5:09pm
  37. Not exactly true @Chuck, the state only recognizes marriage as a civil union, ergo your not married according to the State if you don’t have the recognized piece of official paper, aka “marriage license”. The Church however sees this different, no paper needed… Just step right up but, both agree on the one thing:
    Pay the fee & you’re married, legally.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 5:11pm
  38. Marriage is a legal thing Holy Matrimony is a church thing. I say people should all get married legally THEN go to the church of their choice IF THEY CHOOSE and enter into Holy Matrimoy

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 5:18pm
  39. Samuel, I understand what you are saying. Maybe I was just long winded in my explanation but what I was trying to say is that there seems to be too many Christians that believe you can’t have marriage without god, which is far from the truth. All you need is that piece of paper that works as a contract for the union…religion is simply an add on for some.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 5:37pm
  40. Protect them pedophilic priests and probably the ones who visit “houses of ill repute”

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 8:53pm
  41. religion should not be allowed into a secular space.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 11:27pm
  42. All Marriage Equality Bills are designed to protect religions. Whys there an article dedicated to this subject, that’s just stupid.

    Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 11:32pm
  43. I am totally going to have a government wedding in court… nice and cheap. But the Party after will be fuckin’ FABULOUS!

    Posted on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 9:13am