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Gay rights group requests meeting with Gibbons

Updated Wednesday, April 15, 2009 | 3:32 p.m.

CARSON CITY – A gay and lesbian group wants to meet with Gov. Jim Gibbons to discuss “the daily realities of same-sex relationships.”

The request from the Gay and lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, whose members will be in Carson City next week to meet with lawmakers, follows Gibbons’ remarks Tuesday that he would veto a bill establishing domestic partnerships.

“I just don’t believe in it,” the governor said.

The governor is allowing the gay rights group the use of the Governor’s Mansion for a reception on April 21.

Daniel Burns, communications director for Gibbons, said it would be premature to hold such a meeting. The governor, Burns said, is currently focusing on the state budget and unemployment. If and when the bill gets approved by the Legislature and is awaiting the signature of the governor, Gibbons would be willing to meet with the group, he said.

“I would be surprised if his mind is changed,” by a meeting, said Burns.

In its letter to Gibbons, the group stated: “We do not understand why you would actively seek to segregate your LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered) constituents from fully enjoying the same rights and benefits that you believe some people are exclusively entitled to, but which our constitution guarantees for all.”

Gov. Gibbons, in your role as the chief constitutional officer of the state of Nevada, we seek to meet with you to explain why our lives and relationships are as worthy of the same respect afforded any Nevadan in a loving, committed relationship,” the group stated.

Senate Bill 283 was approved last week by the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor and will appear on the floor of the Senate sometime this week.

Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, a sponsor of the bill, said the domestic partnership described in the bill is not marriage. “All couples should have legal protections for their relationships,” he said.

The bill would allow a person to add a partner to a health insurance plan, protect the partner’s home in bankruptcy, grant a right to collect workers’ compensation benefits if the partner is disabled or killed on the job, give the automatic right to visit a partner in the hospital and assumed parentage for children. The bill would also permit a person to obtain life insurance on a partner and prohibit an individual from being forced to testify against a partner in a court case.

The bill requires that to be valid a domestic partnership must file with the Secretary of State’s Office. A certificate of registered domestic partnership would be issued to the couple.

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