Scene In Passing: Love and marriage join 21st century here

It was SNAFU city in these parts for awhile in the middle of last week, which conservatively translated means “situation normal: all fouled up.”

No one locally or in the state was to blame. Justice Anthony Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court included Nevada with Idaho in staying — prohibiting for awhile — authorization for same-sex marriages. He rescinded that blunder quickly, excising Nevada from his ban, but it had given pause to officials in the Silver State. By week’s end, however, official word in Carson City was marriage licenses for same sex couples could be issued here.

“We got clearance from the district attorney a few minutes ago,” Clerk/Recorder Alan Glover said Thursday afternoon. He said couples getting a license need identification, pertinent information and $75. After issuance, there’s no delay. “They can go get married immediately.”

So what, you ask? So, coincidentially, a couple of friends of mine and my wife’s flew into Nevada Friday night to visit us in Carson City. The couple six years ago last June stood up for us when we married at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church here. You could have called them our best man and maid of honor, but you’d have been wrong. They’re women, so they were called witnesses.

Back then, they were fine legally to witness but weren’t eligible to marry here or in many other places. This special couple has been bedeviled by the prohibition regarding same-sex marriage for a long time.

That made about as much sense as any ban on love and partnering. For years, it made me wonder what in this nation founded on the inalienable right of people to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness makes some people prod government to retain road blocks to liberty or such pursuits. My view is the week ended with a new SNAFU: “Situation normalized: all fixed up,” at least in one equal rights arena.

Columnist H.L. Mencken, after all, wrote the definitive line long ago about people who label things they don’t like or understand as immoral. “Immorality: the morality of those who are having a better time.”

Now let’s turn our attention to consider two other sound, though much less significant, things about grown up Nevada.

Nevada, according to an article, is the lone state in the nation where those over 65 years of age have 70 percent of their pre-retirement income on which to live. Nationally, the ratio in 2013 was 59.6 percent, according to data compiled by the website from income statistics of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Nevada is second lowest in its state-local cell phone tax rate, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. Nevadans pay 1.86 percent to accompany the federal rate of 5.82 percent. Absent federal, Nevada’s 1.86 percent trails only Oregon’s state-local figure of 1.76 percent. The federal-state-local average nationwide, by the way, is a whopping 17.05 percent. So it’s more than double what Nevadans pay.

John Barrette covers Carson City government and business. He can be reached at


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