Nevada makes history as the first US state to protect gay marriage in the constitution

Nevada is the first American state to rewrite its constitution in support of gay marriage, requiring the state to issue marriage licenses regardless of gender.

Although Nevada is still finalising its votes for the 2020 presidential election, the state has also voted on, and passed, a number of other items, including the protection of gay marriage in the constitution.

In a history-making move, Nevada is now the first state in the country to enact constitutional protection of marriage equality, reversing an older amendment which had formerly banned it.

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More than 60% of citizens voted in favour of the ballot, which requires the state to issue marriage licenses regardless of the gender and sexuality of the couples involved – and to treat these marriages as fairly and equally as possible.

This is an amazing feat considering that in 2007, the Public Religious Research Institute found that less than one-third of Americans supported same-sex marriage. Fast forward to 2020, the balance has certainly shifted, with two in three Americans now in support.

Chris Davin, the president of Equality Nevada, spoke to NBC News stating, “It feels good that we let the voters decide, the people said this, not judges or lawmakers. This was direct democracy – it’s how everything should be.” 

Nevada had approved the request to vote on the change in constitution back in 2017 – although the 2002 ban on same-sex marriage had not been enforced for a long time due to a 2015 Supreme Court case (Obergefell v. Hodges) which legalised same-sex marriage nationwide.

However, due to the recent election of the highly conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court in replacement of the late liberal justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the state was motivated to ensure further protection of gay marriage. As there is now a 6-3 conservative majority on the court, LGBTQ rights supporters worry that the 2015 landmark decision is now in danger of being removed.

This new constitutional amendment in Nevada will mean that even if the Supreme Court decides to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, which will erase same-sex marriage federal protections, these couples will still be able to legally marry in Nevada.

Despite the widespread conservatism found in America, this year’s election has shown great strides in LGBTQ political inclusivity. In Delaware, Sarah McBride became the first openly transgender state senator, whilst in Oklahoma, Mauree Turner became the first openly non-binary state legislature. Elsewhere, eleven openly gay people were elected to serve in Congress, as well as two in the Senate, and nine in the House.

All in all, an incredible triumph for the LGBTQ community!