by JERI CHADWELL
UPDATE: During Thursday’s floor session, the Assembly passed Senate Joint Resolution 13—to legalize same sex marriage—in a vote of 27-14.
The resolution passed in the Senate on April 22 in a vote of 12-9. The only Republican Senator to vote in favor of the measure was Sen. Ben Kieckhefer. Kieckhefer has declined requests from various media outlets asking him to comment on his position, saying that his vote in favor of the resolution should speak for itself.
Assemblywoman Michelle Fiore was the only Republican Assembly member to vote in favor of SJR13. Unlike Sen. Kieckhefer, Fiore has been vocal regarding her reasons for voting in favor of same-sex marriage, the first of which she’s said is to show support for her own mother who is gay.
Emotional testimony has been a common theme at Legislature this session, and today’s marriage equality vote was no exception. Assemblyman James Healey was the last to speak prior to the vote; he told his fellow legislators about his deceased partner and their dream of being legally married and raising a family.
“To this day, I dream that I could marry Eddie,” Healey said. “He’s gone, but we have a chance today to let loving couples of Nevada like Eddie and I have the chance to live that same dream that my brothers and their spouses do.”
SJR13 has been referred back to the Senate. If it passes through the Legislature again in 2015, it will go to a public vote in 2016.
[The following article was originally published on May 10]
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.
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