Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020 | 2 a.m.
When the two of us met on an August afternoon in Reno back in 2005, Nevada’s constitution defined a legal marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
Over the course of our relationship, and as our love for each other grew, it became important to us to have the choice to be legally married and treated equally under Nevada law. We sought advice from Lambda Legal to help us, along with seven other couples in Nevada, and filed a lawsuit (Sevcik v. Sandoval) in April 2012.
Basically, we sued for the right to be legally married, as we were not going to settle for anything less than equal rights. After two and a half years, that lawsuit was successful in October 2014.
It was a joyous moment, and we quickly went to the Washoe County Clerk’s office to apply for our marriage license. We had no idea when we arrived that we were the first same-sex couple to apply for a legal marriage license to be issued in Washoe County.
Surrounded by media and well-wishers, we were taken by surprise how happy, loving and supportive everyone was to see this moment, cheer us on and celebrate with us. Walking out of the county clerk’s office, it finally hit us how important and historic this moment really was for us, our community and all of Nevada.
The marriage document was donated to the Nevada Historic Society, along with our wedding dresses, photos and other items, to present to those interested in our story.
So, this issue is “done,” right?
For many, we all thought our work was over. But there is still a very important detail in the Nevada Constitution that needs our attention: It still contains the clause defining marriage as being between a man and a woman, even though same-sex marriage is legal in Nevada and nationwide.
After all these years, registered voters in Nevada will have the opportunity to vote yes on Question 2 in the November election. What will a yes vote on Question 2 do? It will delete the current definition of a legal marriage and instead define marriage as “between couples, regardless of gender.”
This amendment helps to make sure Nevada remains committed to protecting civil rights for all of its residents. This last piece is the final change that is needed to truly keep our marriage legal and safe from discrimination.
Karen Vibe is a financial adviser and has lived in Reno for 20 years. Karen Goody is a medical sales professional at Henry Schein Medical and has lived in Reno for 15 years. Together they have been advocates and leaders for marriage equality issues in Nevada since 2012.