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State-Sanctioned Legal Discrimination

The domestic partnership bill (SB 283) has stirred the pot considerably in the Nevada Legislature this session. At the core, the proposed bill would provide gay couples pretty much the same rights and protections as married couples under law, especially with regards to property rights, visitation rights, inheritance rights, etc.

Many social conservatives oppose the bill, maintaining that a “marriage” by any other name is still a marriage and a violation of the state’s constitutional definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. However, other social conservatives have long maintained they didn’t care if gay couples received similar legal rights and protections as long as it isn’t called “marriage.”

“Live and let live” social libertarians, such as myself, have no real objection to establishing domestic partnerships; however, the devil is always in the details. And SB 283, as passed by the state Senate, should be opposed by the state Assembly thanks to an outrageous amendment which was added to the bill after it was introduced.

As opposed as I am personally to discrimination based on race, creed, religion, etc., I’m even more opposed to the government telling PRIVATE employers who they can hire, how much they have to pay workers, how much “leave” time they have to give them, what benefits they have to provide…..and whether or not you can smoke in my bar. But thus is the state of things today in the socialist paradise formerly known as the freest country on the planet.

That being said, according to SB 283, private companies would have to treat domestic partners exactly the same as married couples. So if, say, a Bible store offers health insurance to the spouses of its employees, it would also have to offer the same benefit to the properly-registered domestic partners of its employees. Failure to do so would be illegal discrimination and a violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment – which, as we all know, was never properly ratified.

We do all know that, right?

In any event, an amendment to SB 283 – which was approved by the state Senate – EXEMPTS the government from having to provide health care benefits to domestic partners while requiring Bible stores and other private employers to do so: “Section 8 of this bill sets forth that no public employer in this State is required to provide health care benefits to or for the domestic partner of an officer or employee.”

Like I said, outrageous. SB 283, in its present form, specifically allows the government to discriminate against gays while prohibiting Bible stores from doing so.

The reasoning is simple: The Legislature, already hurtin’ for money, can’t afford to offer health care benefits to a whole new category of employees; yet the state Senate apparently sees no problem telling private employers that THEY somehow have to come up with the money to offer health care benefits to a whole new category of employees. So congratulations, Lefties. With this stupid amendment you have successfully united social conservatives, social libertarians and fiscal conservatives in opposition to a bill which otherwise would have likely sailed through to passage.

And I thought it was only Republicans who never blew an opportunity to blow an opportunity.