Same-sex marriage a go in Carson City | NevadaAppeal.com
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Same-sex marriage a go in Carson City

The Associated Press
Kristy Best and Wednesday Smith show off their marriage license at the Carson City Courthouse Thursday. They were the first same-sex couple to receive a license in Carson City.
Brad Coman | Nevada Appeal

Licenses issued, couples become married in state

If a same sex couple comes into the Carson City Clerk-Recorder’s office, Alan Glover said Thursday his staff would issue that couple a marriage license and that’s what happened.

Kristy Best and Wednesday Smith became the first same-sex couple in the state to get a license at about 3 p.m. Thursday, said Elizabeth Phelps, a clerk in the Carson City marriage license office.

Best said in a telephone interview that she and Smith were surprised to get their license when they showed up at the Carson City marriage office with the $75 filing fee they borrowed from Smith’s mother.

“We went to see what would happen, and they gave us the license,” Best said. “I feel amazing. So happy. Love doesn’t discriminate, so why should we?”

“Nothing,” Smith said, “stands in the middle of true love.”

Best and Smith have been together almost 7 years, and they plan to be married Saturday with a gathering of family and friends.

Carson City’s Mary Baranovich and Beverly Sevcik led the fight to overturn the ban on gay marriage in the state. Sevcik said on Thursday the couple had yet to obtain a marriage license. She said the couple plans to marry in January in Carson City.

“Oh yes, we’re just absolutely delighted,” Sevcik said. “It was just a roller coaster ride. We’re glad it’s over and we’re absolutely delighted.”

The original Nevada lawsuit, Sevcik v. Sandoval, was filed in April, 2012 on behalf of eight couples in the state.

It said the 2002 state constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution by denying same-sex couples in Nevada the same rights, dignity and security that other married couples enjoy.

“Our DA told me about (2 p.m.) to go ahead and we follow the advice of our DA,” Glover said Thursday afternoon about issuing marriage licenses. “If somebody comes in, we’re going to issue them a license.”

He said there shouldn’t be a problem “as long as it doesn’t jeopardize the legal status of the marriage and I can’t imagine that it would.”

Meanwhile, a Nevada state senator has married his partner to become the first gay couple married in Las Vegas.

State Sen. Kelvin Atkinson wed Sherwood Howard shortly after gay couples began receiving marriage licenses in the wedding capital of the world.

About 10 same-sex couples were standing in line as the announcement came shortly after 5 p.m.

The hopes of gay couples in Nevada had been in limbo since the 9th Circuit ruled Tuesday that gay couples’ equal protection rights were violated by same-sex wedding bans in Nevada and Idaho.

The last Nevada challenge was dropped early Thursday, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals again declared that its ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry in the state was “in full force and effect.” Clerks waited for a trial judge to enforce the court’s order before they started issuing licenses just before sunset.

Gay-owned chapel Viva Las Vegas, which features Elvis impersonators at the altar and themed weddings, had readied plans to offer special packages for same-sex couples.

Shortly after the flurry of weddings, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Democratic Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto released a statement, declaring “this action brings finality to the issue of same-sex marriage in Nevada.”

Nevada Appeal Capitol Reporter Geoff Dornan contributed to this story.