Dozens testify on Nevada same-sex marriage

by NATASHA VITALE

Sens. Tick Segerblom and Pat Spearman introduce SJR 13 to the Assembly Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections on Thursday night. / Photo by Natasha Vitale

Sens. Tick Segerblom and Pat Spearman introduce SJR 13 to the Assembly Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections on Thursday night. / Photo by Natasha Vitale

A Nevada Assembly Committee took testimony on Senate Joint Resolution 13 on Thursday when many of those who had testified earlier this year repeated their support for or opposition to the measure that would repeal Nevada’s constitutional ban against same-sex marriage.

Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, was a new voice of support as she testified.

“My mom is gay,” Fiore said. “My two daughters and I are not. My mom is a Democrat. My two daughters and I are strong Republicans. I am who I am today, because of the guidance and upbringing of my mom who is gay.”

Sens. Tick Segerblom, Pat Spearman and David Parks, all Las Vegas Democrats, introduced the resolution to the Assembly Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections.

The committee chairman, Assemblyman James Ohrenschall, D-Las Vegas, allowed those who opposed the measure to testify first.

That, he explained, was to ensure that everyone had an equal opportunity to have their testimony heard. With more than 50 people signed in to testify, speakers had to limit their comments to two minutes each.

Those who opposed the resolution spoke of their concern that the measure would infringe on their own religious freedom. They stated that they did not believe that the proposal’s amendment, which would allow religious institutions to exercise their right to not marry same-sex couples, was enough.

“This is a radical constitutional amendment as no other state has actually put it in their constitution and it does far more than repealing it,” said Janine Hansen, who was representing Nevada Eagle Forum.

Las Vegas residents Dr. Salwa Zaki and her children, who originally testified in the Senate Committee hearing on the resolution, sat before the Assembly committee to once again show their support.

Riley Roberts, a high school student from Reno and the son of a lesbian couple, was another young person who testified in support of the measure.

He became emotional as he described how his parents were no different than a heterosexual couple and should have the same rights as heterosexual married couples.

“I was born in Nevada 18 years ago and guess who was there? My mom Pamela Roberts and Gretchen Miller, my loving parents,” Roberts said. “And who was there to watch me take my first steps? Pamela Roberts and Gretchen Miller.”

The committee ended after almost three hours of testimony on SJR 13. No action was taken on the resolution Thursday. It will be brought to committee again for a work session.

You can also find this story on the Reno Gazette-Journal 



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