Nevada passes constitutional Equal Rights Amendment

The Rainbow Flag, an international symbol of LGBT liberation and pride, flies beneath the American flag at the Stonewall National Monument on Oct. 11, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Story at a glance

  • Nevada voters have approved a measure to add language to the state’s constitution guaranteeing equal protection for individuals regardless of race, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • The ballot measure passed with nearly 58 percent of the vote, according to the Associated Press.

  • LGBTQ advocates said the new language in the state constitution will make it more difficult for the state to pass laws that negatively affect LGBTQ people, particularly transgender people.

Nevada voters have approved a measure to add language to the state’s constitution designed to explicitly protect historically marginalized groups from discrimination.

The ballot measure passed by 58 percent of the vote as of Friday evening, with 90 percent of the precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

The measure will guarantee equal rights for individuals regardless of “race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry, or national origin.”

It’s considered one of the most comprehensive state equal rights amendments in the nation and far broader than the federal Equal Rights Amendment adopted by Nevada in 2017, which prohibits discrimination based on sex.

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LGBTQ advocates celebrated the ballot measure’s likely passage as an “extraordinary” step forward for the state that is likely to make passing legislation barring transgender athletes from sports or restricting gender-affirming health care more difficult.

“Laws like this that [write] gender identity into the state constitution will protect Nevada from anti-trans laws in the future,” Erin Reed, a vocal transgender community advocate and state legislative researcher, tweeted Wednesday. “It makes it so much easier to overturn those laws in court!”

Previous ballot measures to add more inclusive language to the state constitution have been passed by Nevada voters in past elections.

In 2020, more than 60 percent of Nevada voters opted to repeal a 2002 state constitutional amendment that defined marriages recognized by the state as unions between only one man and one woman, replacing it with an amendment granting couples the ability to obtain marriage licenses “regardless of gender.”

Nevada voters on Tuesday also approved two additional ballot measures to raise the state minimum wage to $12 starting in 2024 and institute ranked-choice voting for top-ballot races including for Congress, the governor and the state legislature.

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