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Joint Resolution Looks at Same-Sex Marriage

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Courtesy MGN Online Courtesy MGN Online

Tuesday both lawmakers in Carson City and U.S. Supreme Court justices began hearings considering the constitutionality of same-sex marriage.

Down at the legislative building, lawmakers looked at Senate Joint Resolution 13. If approved, that resolution would change the definition of marriage in Nevada. The current definition in the state constitution recognizes marriage between a man and a woman. This resolution is hoping to change that to include same-sex couples.

"We believe that the definition of the word is at the crux of all this and that if we diminish what is the standard in the world for marriage, that diminishes our whole society," Janine Hansen with the Nevada Families for Freedom told us at Tuesday's hearing.

Beverly Sevcik and Mary Baranovich disagree. They have been a couple for 41 years and have raised three children together. "Our relationship has nothing to do with anybody else's relationship. We are not going to destroy marriage. We are not going to destroy the country. We just love each other," Baranovich said outside of the hearing.

But others say this is more than an equal rights issue, saying changing the definition of marriage ignores religious beliefs and what they personally believe is moral. "Legality is whatever the legislature or law says but morality, I think, God says it is," John Wagner of the Independent American Party of Nevada says.

One of the youngest to testify in favor of same-sex marriage is Dalia Zaki. The 11 year old's mother has been in a domestic partnership with another woman for more than three years. "I love my parents and I hate that they're being discriminated against just because… out of love. It's just a natural thing," Zaki told us Tuesday.

Some say today's definition of marriage doesn't discriminate because domestic partnerships are recognized in Nevada. "Domestic partnerships give other couples all the rights that other couples have. So, they have that opportunity" Hansen explains. But many people who support same-sex marriage say domestic partnerships do not guarantee the same rights as marriage and they are not on equal footing. "Why should we be singled out," Beverly Sevcik asks. "We love, we hurt, we feel, we care for our children, we pay our taxes. We are just like everyone else."

If the resolution passes in this session, it will need to be passed again in the 2015 Legislature. Then it will go to the voters on the 2016 ballot. 

Written by Paul Nelson

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