This week, Nevada became the first state in the US to recognize same-sex marriages in its state constitution. The right to same-sex marriage was one four new amendments to the state constitution, which also included a Voters’ Bill of Rights and a renewable energy mandate.
Nevada residents voted for a ballot initiative that removed an inactive same-sex marriage ban from the state constitution. Voters had previously banned same-sex marriage in Nevada by passing a constitutional amendment in the 2000 and 2002 elections, but that ruling was superseded by the 2015 US Supreme Court ruling that legalized the practice throughout the country.
Briana Escamilla, Human Rights Campaign’s Nevada director, said that the large number of people who voted for the measure is an indication of a positive shift in the culture.
“This overwhelming majority should be a reminder that LGBTQ equality is not just the right thing to do, it is exactly what Nevadans want,” Escamilla said.
As part of the measure, religious organizations and clergy members will be allowed to refuse to perform marriages in these circumstances.
While same-sex marriage is currently legal due to the Supreme Court ruling, there is concern that recent changes in the court could lead to a reversal of the 2015 decision. If the nationwide legalization decision is overturned in the future, at least Nevada will be safe for LGBT people, and perhaps such measures will also take form in other states
“I am just so elated that Nevada is the first state to take that stand and my community has taken that stand,” Lyric Burt told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “Because we’ve voted red for so long in a lot of presidential elections, it got this reputation for being a really conservative state. But there are some things in our state that show that we are progressive.”
Advocates for LGBT and women’s rights have been worried about how incoming supreme court justice Amy Coney Barrett could wipe away many of the freedoms that have been won over the past few decades. Barrett is part of a cultish religious group that has very puritanical and male-supremacist ideals.
Despite growing concern over authoritarians in leadership roles in government, Americans are overwhelming choosing in favor of freedom on ballot initiatives. As The Mind Unleashed reported earlier this week, Oregon became the first state in the country to decriminalize possession of hard drugs including heroin, cocaine, and LSD.
Oregon’s new law reclassifies the low-level possession of illegal substances including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, LSD, methadone, and oxycodone from a misdemeanor to a non-criminal violation, punishable by either a $100 fine or a health assessment. The new law will go into effect on February 1st. An overwhelming majority of 59% voted in favor of the measure.
Five states, New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, And South Dakota voted to legalize recreational marijuana, joining Washington DC and 11 other states that had already legalized recreational cannabis.
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