Nevada Hub

Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) Becomes Key 60th Vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)

HellerIn a statement released this morning, Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) announced his support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), making him the critical 60th vote necessary to avoid a potential filibuster.

Said Heller:

"After listening to Nevadans' concerns about this issue from a variety of viewpoints and after numerous conversations with my colleagues, I feel that supporting this legislation is the right thing to do. Under the leadership of this Governor, as well as the legislature over the past several years, Nevada has established a solid foundation of anti-discrimination laws. This legislation raises the federal standards to match what we have come to expect in Nevada, which is that discrimination must not be tolerated under any circumstances."

ENDA is scheduled for a vote later today. 

Lambda Legal Appeals Decision Barring Gay Couples From Marrying In Nevada To Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals

6a00d8341c730253ef0168e9e3492f970c-200wiYesterday, Lambda Legal filed their opening brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a case challenging Nevada's constitutional amendment and other laws banning same-sex marriage. The appeal comes after the initial case was rebuffed by a federal judge in November 2012. The appeal with the Ninth Circuit was filed December of that same year but was stalled as the U.S. Supreme Court considered Hollingsworth v. Perry (Prop. 8) and United States v. Windsor (DOMA). At the time, many lower courts were looking to those rulings for guidance as to how they should enact their own jurisprudence in cases pertaining to same-sex marriage.

In their argument to the Ninth Circuit, Lambda Legal posits that the Supreme Court's ruling on DOMA makes it all the more necessary for the Ninth Circuit to act in their favor because same-sex couples in Nevada are being denied federal benefits that the Supreme Court ruled they ought to be afforded.

Via Lambda Legal's press release:

6a00d8341c730253ef017c3420d235970b-250wi"The world has changed dramatically since we filed this lawsuit over a year ago," said Tara Borelli, Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal's Western Regional Office. "After the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling striking down Section 3 of DOMA, Nevada's ban on marriage for same-sex couples has become exponentially more harmful to same-sex couples who are barred from a sweeping array of federal benefits as well."

The brief argues: "As the arbiter of which couples may be married in the State, Nevada thus holds the key to access for the sweeping array of spousal rights and responsibilities available under federal law, and keeps them locked away from same-sex couples under the marriage ban.  By foreclosing same-sex couples from marriage, Nevada inflicts virtually the same collection of federal harms and deprivations on unmarried same-sex couples as DOMA previously did, since nearly all federal benefits are unavailable to unmarried couples, regardless of whether they are registered domestic partners."

In addition to legal challenges to Nevada's anti-equality laws, there is also an attempt underway to get marriage equality on the ballot in 2016 in Nevada.

LGBT Latino Population in U.S. Grows to Over 1.4 Million: REPORT

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A newly released report by the UCLA's Williams Institute estimates that 1.4 million, or 4.3% of the Latino adults in the U.S. identify themselves as LGBT. The report was conducted, in part, to gain an understanding of the socioeconomic and family situation of LGBT Latinos in the country. Latino Post breaks down some of the report's other findings:

According to the research, areas with higher concentrations of Hispanics have more LGBT Latinos, the leading states being Texas, Nevada and California. Those same states, unfortunately, are states that tend to have fewer legal protections for LGBT people.

"While sometimes less visible in popular representations of LGBT people and families, Latinos make up a sizeable portion of the LGBT population, and they tend to live in Latino, as opposed to LGBT, communities," said co-author Gary J. Gates.

The survey also indicates that of the 1,419,200 LGBT Latinos in the US, it's estimated that roughly 30 percent of same-sex couples who live together also live in populations with high volumes of Latinos. Though, of those couples, a full 63 percent are interracial; one of the partners not being Latino.

LGBT Latinos have a higher rate of unemployment (14 percent) than "straight" Latinos (11 percent); though more LGBT Latinos have college degrees (26 percent) compared to their heterosexual counterparts (14 percent). And LGBT Latinos earn a higher median income.

To read the report in full, click HERE

Burning Man 2013, as Seen from a Drone: VIDEO


Daytime on the playa at Black Rock City, 2013.



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Supreme Court Hands Jan Brewer Defeat, Declines Review in Two More Cases Related to Gays and Marriage

In its final day of orders, the Supreme Court today declined to cases related to same-sex unions.

BrewerYou may recall that back in 2009, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer eliminated state domestic partner benefits a year after they were implemented. The 9th Circuit in September 2011 dealt Brewer a defeat, upholding an injunction barring enforcement of the law Brewer signed. The Supreme Court today declined to hear that case.

They also declined to hear a case involving Nevada's ban on the freedom to marry in which the anti-gay supporters of marriage discrimination made a request to bypass the Ninth Circuit.

In December our legal editor Ari Ezra Waldman called the reasoning from Judge Randy Smith in the Nevada case "delusional."

He based his entire decision on the ludicrous notion that a "meaningful percentage of heterosexual persons" will flee or avoid the institution of marriage if gay people start marrying the persons they love.

SCOTUSblog reports:

The Court simply declined review in two new same-sex marriage cases, each of which might have drawn the Court into the basic controversy over whether gays and lesbians have an equal right to marry — an issue the Court bypassed in its rulings on Wednesday.  The newly denied cases are from Arizona, Brewer v. Diaz (12-23), involving benefits for unmarried gays and lesbians who work for state agencies, and from Nevada, Coalition for Protection of Marriage v. Sevcik (12-689), involving a direct test of the equality issue.   The Nevada case, however, asked the Court to take on the case before the Ninth Circuit Court has ruled on it.

The Court, as usual, gave no explanation for denying review in those cases.   The Court also declined to take on eight other pending petitions on the same-sex marriage issue.  In denying five of those, the Court noted that Justice Elena Kagan had not taken part, presumably because she had some role in them in her former position as U.S. Solicitor General.

Nevada Teen Offers Angry, Tearful, Loving Testimony on Why His Two Gay Moms Deserve Equality: VIDEO


18-year-old Riley Roberts delivered an emotional, compelling speech before the Nevada Assembly yesterday before it voted 27-14 to pass a resolution advancing efforts toward marriage equality in the state.

With, anger, love, and some tears, Roberts moved the room, and he will move you.

Says Roberts in the video.

“I was born in Nevada 18 years ago and guess who was there? My mom Pamela Roberts and Gretchen Miller, my loving parents. And who was there to watch me take my first steps? Pamela Roberts and Gretchen Miller. And who was there when I said my first words? My two loving parents. And who was there when I kicked my first soccer ball? My two loving parents. And who can I talk to when I need anything? My two loving parents. And who will be there to see me walk across the stage next month and receive my honors diploma? My two gay loving parents who have been together for 22 years."

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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