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With Question 1, Nevada passes most inclusive states equal rights amendment in nation

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by Camalot Todd, Nevada Current

Nevadans said “yes” to codifying equal rights in the state constitution, unofficial election results show.

Question 1 asked voters to add to the state constitution language that people can not be discriminated against based on “race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry, or national origin.”

That makes it the most inclusive of all state-level Equal Rights Amendments, say advocates.

No other state has explicitly prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, according to Nnedi Stephens, the campaign manager for Nevadans for Equal Rights, which advocated for Question 1.

“Passing the most inclusive state ERA amendment in the country uplifts Nevada as a beacon of light and a model for fighting back against hatred and bigotry in all of its forms,” they added in a statement.

Statewide, 57% of voters supported the measure and 43% opposed, as of Thursday afternoon. Urban counties carried the ballot question to success with double digit margins, while Nevada’s rural counties voted heavily against the measure.

Clark and Washoe counties voted overwhelmingly in favor of the ballot question. Rural Republicans in nearly every other county in the state voted against it. Nearly three-fourths of voters in Lincoln and Eureka counties opposed adding the equal rights amendment to the state constitution.

The constitutional amendment originated as Senate Joint Resolution 8 during the 2019 Legislative Session, where it received bipartisan support, and was passed a second time during the 2021 session.

While there are federal and state laws protecting equal rights, advocates say Question 1 will fill in existing gaps for more legal protections, including against unequal pay for women and pregnancy discrimination. 

Opponents argued that the amendment failed to protect the “religious liberties of individuals who hold traditional views on marriage and gender and want to live according to those values” and could set a legal justification for taxpayer-funded abortions in the state.

Nevada law guarantees the right to an abortion, But the Hyde Amendment prevents federal funds to be used for elective abortions and while states can use funds to offset the costs for abortions, Nevada isn’t one.

April Corbin Girnus contributed to this report.

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: [email protected]. Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

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