Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020 | 3:13 a.m.
Election Day was a long time coming for Nevada’s LGBTQ community.
With 75% of precincts reporting early Wednesday, voters appeared to have approved a ballot question that adds the right to same-sex marriage to the state constitution and overturns an amendment voters approved in 2002 to ban the practice. The margin was 61% to 39%.
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned state same-sex marriage bans in 2015, but provisions remain in the constitutions of 30 states. Nevada, thanks to the passage of Question 2, is no longer part of the list.
Andre Wade, state director for Silver State Equality, said the overwhelming support from voters shows that members of the LGBTQ community in Nevada are being heard.
“It’s important to have our constitution match the will of the people,” Wade said. “The (provision) was something that was added two decades ago, but it wasn’t working. It needed to be removed.”
Supporters have advocated for the initiative with a renewed sense of urgency since the September death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg upended the balance on the court. She was replaced with conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
Also included in the new language is an exemption that provides religious organizations and clergy members with the right to refuse to perform a marriage.
“This means we’re in alignment with the country’s view that marriage should be equal for same-sex couples,” said John Waldron, CEO of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada. “It gives us the protection we were looking for should something happen with the conservative Supreme Court at the federal level.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.