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Same-Sex Marriage Ruling In UT Could Impact NV

Efforts to overturn Nevada's ban on same-sex marriage may be getting a boost now that marriage equality has come to Utah. Photo courtesy Giovanni Dall’Orto.
Efforts to overturn Nevada's ban on same-sex marriage may be getting a boost now that marriage equality has come to Utah. Photo courtesy Giovanni Dall’Orto.
January 3, 2014

RENO, Nev. – Efforts to overturn Nevada's ban on same-sex marriage may be getting a boost now that marriage equality has come to Utah.

Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel at the ACLU of Nevada, says the court ruling last month striking down the same-sex marriage ban in Utah could set a legal precedent for the Silver State and elsewhere.

"If you read the Utah case and the rationale that the court used to reach its decision, I think the arguments apply in Utah and Nevada and everywhere else," he maintains.

Lichtenstein says the failed rationale used by the State of Utah involved arguing states rights. He says that means the state claims it has the right to determine a certain issue without federal government involvement.

Lichtenstein points out some states made similar arguments during slavery and the civil rights movement.

He says preserving a same-sex marriage ban requires a state to prove that gay people getting married has, or will, harm society.

He says years of history prove that marriage equality has not caused any damage in states where it's legal.

"No state interest was harmed,” Lichtenstein maintains. “Nothing bad happened. Lightning didn't strike. Earthquakes, whatever was supposed to happen, nothing happened."

There is currently a court challenge to Nevada's same-sex marriage ban. The state Legislature also has approved a potential ballot initiative that could legalize same-sex marriage.

The State of Utah is expected to challenge the marriage equality ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court early in the New Year.


Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV