[JURIST] The Nevada Assembly [official website] on Sunday approved a same-sex partnership law [SB 283, PDF; materials], overriding the governor's veto [press release, PDF] by a 28-14 vote [roll call vote]. The measure, passed in the state senate [roll call vote] a day earlier by the requisite two-thirds vote, seeks to give same-sex partners the same rights, protections, and benefits as are given to spouses. The rights afforded to domestic partners include property rights, mutual responsibility for debts, rights with respect to children, and the right to seek financial support if the partnership ends. While the legislation specifies that a legal union under the law does not constitute a marriage under the Nevada Constitution [text], the law provides legal protection for same-sex marriages or unions from other states. Governor Jim Gibbons [official website] vetoed the bill on the grounds that the voters of Nevada previously passed a constitutional amendment specifying that the rights of marriage should only apply to married couples, reasoning that only the voters should determine if domestic partners are granted such rights. Gibbons also reasoned that the privileges sought by the bill could be achieved with private contracts.
Recently, the California Supreme Court [official website] rejected constitutional challenges [JURIST report] to Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriages. Several other states have recently taken up the issue of same-sex marriage. In May, the New Hampshire House of Representatives rejected [JURIST report] a same-sex marriage bill after it was amended to gain the governor's approval. The New York State Assembly passed a bill [JURIST report] that would allow same-sex marriages to be performed in the state. Maine became the fifth state to allow same-sex marriage [JURIST report] when Governor John Baldacci [official website] signed a same-sex marriage bill into law. In April, Vermont became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage through a vote of the legislature, joining Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa [JURIST reports] as the other states that allow same-sex marriage.