It's official: Hundreds of Nevada gay and lesbian couples will become domestic partners on Thursday, when a state law originally vetoed by Gov. Jim Gibbons (pictured) goes into effect.
State officials say they will hand out nearly 700 domestic-partnership certificates on the first day of the registry, according to On Top magazine. To register by October 1, couples had to file their declarations between August 24 and September 24, according to the Nevada secretary of state's website.
The law, which survived Gibbons's veto with a legislative override in May, does not grant rights equal to those of marriage. It offers limited rights, such as estate planning and hospital visitation benefits, but has no effect on employer-provided benefits like health care.
Nevada gaming interests were among the powerful lobbies that urged the legislature to enact protections for committed LGBT couples in the state.
A similar domestic-partnership law went into effect in Wisconsin in August, following a 2006 voter-approved constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Critics of both states' new laws claim that domestic-partnership registries stand in violation of existing state amendments forbidding same-sex marriage.
In November voters will go to the polls in two states to decide whether to uphold same-sex relationship recognition legislation that either enacts marriage equality (Maine) or expands domestic-partnership rights (Washington).