LAS VEGAS — Gay rights groups celebrated Tuesday and county clerks began making plans to for a burst of marriage applications after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Nevada‘s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
In Las Vegas, the self-described “wedding capital,” the county-run marriage license bureau set a 2 p.m. Wednesday time to begin accepting marriage license applications from gay and lesbian couples – just 24 hours after a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Nevada’s ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional.
Gov. Brian Sandoval and state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto issued a joint statement late Tuesday saying the state will take no further action.
“Same sex marriage is now law in Nevada,” the statement said.
LEAD PLAINTIFFS REACT
The lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit that overturned the ban issued a statement saying they were elated by the 9th Circuit ruling.
“We are just so delighted that finally, after 43 years together, we will soon be able to get married,” Beverly Sevcik said in a statement issued through Lambda Legal, the advocacy group that fought the case.
The Nevada lawsuit, Sevcik v. Sandoval, was filed in April 2012 on behalf of eight Nevada couples. It said the 2002 state constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution by denying same-sex couples in Nevada the same rights, dignity and security that other married couples enjoy.
Sevcik’s partner, Mary Baranovich, said they looked forward to a ceremony with family and friends in Carson City.
“When Bev and I met, I must admit we never thought this day would come,” Baranovich said. “But now it’s here, and how sweet it is.”
MARRIAGE BUREAUS PREPARE
Diana Alba, the Clark County clerk, had already prepared gender-neutral marriage license applications, licenses and certificates ahead of the ruling, county spokesman Erik Pappa said.
Washoe County Clerk Nancy Parent in Reno said her office also had gender-neutral paperwork prepared.
The actions come with a judge in Nevada expected yet to issue a final order invalidating a 2002 constitutional ban on gay marriage.
Alba and Parent said they were conferring with other county clerks and district attorneys following Tuesday’s landmark ruling in the federal lawsuit, Sevcik v. Sandoval. “We’re trying to have all the county clerks on the same page,” Alba said.
NEVADA STEPS ASIDE
“Our offices have received several inquiries regarding whether the State will seek reconsideration, rehearing, or a stay,” the Republican governor and Democratic attorney general said in their statement. They said it will not.
Sandoval said the ruling in San Francisco confirmed his determination following an appeals court’s ruling in another case in February that the state had a way to defend its voter-approved 2002 state constitutional ban on gay marriage.
Masto noted that the parties still had 14 days to seek reconsideration or to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case.