Court of public opinion

So, it appears that Nevada will again be a battleground. This time, the battle will be about gay equality.

As first reported on April 10 by the Metro Weekly, “Today, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund took what one of its lawyers calls ‘a strategic step’ in the national effort to advance marriage equality by filing a federal lawsuit in Nevada seeking equal marriage rights for eight same-sex couples in the state.”

It’s about time. And even though this is a federal case, Nevada is the right place to hold court.

Nevada is among the most libertarian states in the nation. Libertarians are supposed to believe in civil liberties—as long as people are not hurting anyone else, they should be able to marry whom they want without government intervention.

Nevada is, too, pretty equally divided among Republicans and Democrats. The majority of Republicans claim to believe in smaller government, fewer regulations, less intrusion. Republicans by and large accept same-sex couples into their fold, particularly when those votes may get a no-new-taxes Republican elected. But for the most part, they truly do not give a damn who sleeps with who, particularly if it’s not at their own house. Think of it as a party-wide version of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The smallest segment of the Republican Party—the religious right—may support discrimination against entire classes of people, but, you know, screw that.

Democrats have largely supported equality among people—even though, as of late, they’ve been more supportive of equality among rich people. But if those rich people are gay and want to get married, hey, more power to them.

Here’s some more from the Metro Weekly story: “According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, the lead plaintiffs in the new lawsuit—Beverly Sevcik, 73, and Mary Baranovich, 76, of Carson City, Nevada—have been together for more than 40 years. As the complaint notes, ‘When Beverly and Mary committed their lives to each other on October 2, 1971 and bought rings to signify their relationship, they were careful not to purchase matching rings for fear of having their relationship discovered.”

That’s awesome. Even the most cynical among us has got to appreciate the love and commitment that led to 40 years of wedded ups and downs and the stability of that family unit, a pretty good example of marriage, one that compares favorably to just about any we can think of.

Nevada has in recent years made some ostensible steps toward marriage equality with new separate-but-equal domestic-partnership laws. Many will argue that these laws are just as good as marriage equality.

But then, really, the point of equality is not to have separate laws for different classes of people. It’s sort of like even gay people deserve equal protection under the law. Because “white” and “colored” drinking fountains had no real, essential differences, and yet nobody was fooled into thinking they were the same.