Saturday, September 5, 2009

Nevada's Domestic Partnership Act gives rise to questions courts are likely to decide

09/04/09 Las Vegas Sun / Gay Marriage Watch:

In May, the Nevada state legislature enacted the Domestic Partnership Act over Governor Jim Gibbons' veto. The law gives same-sex partners the same rights, protections, benefits, and duties as spouses. How will the law affect employers who offer health insurance to the spouses of employees? Does the federal Family Medical Leave Act entitle employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for domestic partners (despite the federal DOMA)? Tamara Jankovic of Holland & Hart, and Howard Cole of Lewis & Roca, said that courts will have to answer these questions. Cole said that "[t]here is some unresolved ambiguity with the 2002 constitutional amendment,” Art. I, Sec. 21, which bans same-sex marriage. The Las Vegas Sun doesn't clarify Cole's statement. Perhaps Cole thinks that opponents of the Domestic Partnership Act may challenge its constitutionality, even though the law states that "[a] domestic partnership is not a marriage for the purposes of Section 21 of Article 1 of the Nevada Constitution."

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