Thursday, October 1, 2009

SB 283: Today's The Day

History and Herstory are being made today in Nevada. Finally, FINALLY, LGBT families won't be at so much of a disadvantage any longer. The state moves just a little closer toward full equality.

They’ve been together for more than nine years. Most of their time revolves around the kids: dropping off, picking up, going to games and recitals, meeting with teachers, reminding about chores and nursing colds. In the evenings, their family has dinner together and yet they still find time for just the two of them, to laugh and tease and flirt and say, “I love you.”

And today, Carline Banegas and Jodie Dearborn will be one of nearly 700 couples receiving Nevada’s first domestic partnership certificates.

In the eyes of the law, their family will be almost normal.

And fortunately, The Sun has also uploaded a video of the Banegas-Dearborn family and their thoughts on SB 283 becoming law.

I must admit that their story from "Equality Days" really put a smile on my face.

Last spring Nevada’s Legislature debated a bill introduced by state Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas. It wouldn’t overturn Nevada’s ban and make us one of the four states with same-sex marriage. It wouldn’t provide federal recognition for same-sex couples. But it would make Nevada the 10th state with either domestic partnerships or civil unions. It would be a legal piece of paper for couples to show doctors and bosses.

Carline and Jodie consider themselves active in the gay community, but they don’t think of themselves as activists. As Carline says, “I’m a lesbian but that’s not the only hat I wear. I’m a mom, I’m active at my kids’ school.”

They also were among the couples who traveled to Carson City in April to lobby legislators to pass the bill.

With some apprehension, they knocked on a lot of doors. Carline went into the office of Ed Goedhart, a staunch anti-tax Republican assemblyman from Amargosa. He was wearing a cowboy hat.

Carline remembers, “I went in there with my attitude, like, ‘We’ve been together almost 10 years and I’m no different than you are.’ And he’s like, ‘I know, you’re right.’

“He totally made me feel like a fool.”

A month later, after Gov. Jim Gibbons vetoed domestic partnerships, Goedhart was the only Republican in the Assembly who voted to override the veto. His was the decisive 28th vote, providing a needed two-thirds majority in the lower chamber.

Maybe if even such conservative Republicans as Goedhart can ultimately do the right thing, maybe there's continued hope for us. Hopefully as the "weddings" start today, we'll see positive coverage of families living their dreams and not so much media hype of "freak shows".

And hopefully today is just the start of real progress for our LGBT community in Nevada as our families finally start to get some of the respect they deserve.

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