Nevada voters repeal constitutional definition of marriage

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Voters in Nevada on Tuesday repealed a 2002 measure that defined marriage in the state constitution as a union of one man and one woman.

The Associated Press reported that 61.2% of voters voted to strike the constitutional provision, with 75% of votes reported.

The measure will require the State of Nevada and its political subdivisions to recognize marriages and issue licenses to “couples, regardless of gender.”

The state already follows the definition of marriage mandated by the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges. By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court required that all states allow same-sex unions legally recognized as marriages.

Backers of Question 2 argued that there were still legal challenges against legally recognized same-sex marriage based on state constitutional definitions, such as an effort earlier this year in Tennessee which argued county clerks were wrong to distribute licenses to same-sex couples.

Nevada’s 2020 ballot measure recognized the rights of clergy and religious organizations to refuse to perform a marriage.

The legal redefinition of marriage has posed significant religious freedom problems for religious organizations, schools, social services, adoption agencies, businesses and individuals that do not recognize same-sex unions as marriages.

Question 2 was placed on the 2020 Nevada ballot after two consecutive sessions of the state legislature voted to place it there.

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