Voters to decide Nevada version of Equal Rights Amendment

Nov 8, 2022, 6:00 AM | Updated: 10:23 pm
FILE - People wait in line to vote at a polling place before it opened on Election Day on Nov. 3, 2...

FILE - People wait in line to vote at a polling place before it opened on Election Day on Nov. 3, 2020, in Las Vegas. Nevada voters will consider a ballot question on Nov. 8, 2022, that would enshrine in the state constitution a ban on discrimination based on race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or express, age, disability, ancestry or national origin. Nevadans will also weigh in on ranked-choice voting and the state's minimum wage. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Nevada voters on Tuesday will decide to adopt or reject what is widely considered the most comprehensive state version of the Equal Rights Amendment, a sweeping update that would put protections in place for people who have historically been marginalized in the state Constitution.

Nevada’s ERA would amend the state Constitution to ensure equal rights for all, “regardless of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry, or national origin.” It is a more wide-ranging amendment than the federal ERA that Nevada adopted in 2017, which outlaws discrimination based on sex, though the push to ratify it in the U.S. Constitution remains gridlocked.

Proponents of Nevada’s ERA say that it would provide new tools to challenge discrimination and close loopholes where those rights are not necessarily guaranteed. Nevada state Sen. Pat Spearman, one of the sponsors, cited age protections for older workers laid off during the pandemic and transgender people having their identity protected as tangible differences under the amendment. Other proponents said that enshrining the ERA’s protections in the Nevada Constitution holds more weight and would be tougher to overturn than if they were in state law or left up to existing state and federal protections.

“(Laws) can be chipped away at or reduced,” said Kate Kelly, an author and activist who has traveled the country promoting both federal and state ERAs. “And we’ve seen that in the very recent past — statutory protections we thought were forever are being chipped away.”

The top concerns for groups opposing the ERA was protections for gender identity and expression as well as age. Several said expanding rights for gay marriage could infringe on their freedom of religion. Several groups did not want transgender people using bathrooms or competing in sports that align with their gender identity.

Janine Hansen, who leads the movement against Question 1, said the protections for gender identity could force her church in Elko County to perform gay marriages against religious leaders’ wishes.

“They have the right to get married,” she said. “But they want to force me and my church to allow them to get married.”

Fred Lokken, a political science professor at Truckee Meadows Community College, said the Equal Rights Amendment would not bar churches from their First Amendment rights “as long as they’re longstanding beliefs and practices.”

In the late afternoon on Election Day, Alex Shi walked into the Reno Town Mall polling location because of issues hanging in the balance she “never thought would be up for debate,” particularly abortion rights, and partly due to “spite” toward certain candidates she didn’t trust. The 23-year-old also was motivated by the opportunity to adopt Nevada’s version of the Equal Rights Amendment and a feeling it was her responsibility.

“I think it’s very important to show up and try to make the best difference that I can,” Shi said.

Though it shares its namesake, Nevada’s proposal is different from the decadeslong effort for the adoption of the federal ERA, which is still not in effect.

In 2020, versions of the federal amendment had been adopted by 38 states, pushing it over the threshold to be adopted federally. However, that came decades after the ratification deadline Congress set after it was passed in 1972, and five states — Nebraska, Tennessee, Idaho, Kentucky and South Dakota — have moved to remove their prior approval. That means states can express support it individually, though it is not ratified into the U.S. Constitution.

Nevada could become the 27th state to adopt its own version of the ERA. Some states have more far-reaching than the federal ERA, while others protect against specific circumstances of gender-based discrimination.

___

Stern is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Stern on Twitter: @gabestern326.

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the elections at: https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - A General Motors logo is displayed outside the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly pla...
Associated Press

GM venture to invest additional $275M at Tennessee plant

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A joint venture between General Motors and South Korean battery company LG Energy Solution announced Friday that it will invest an additional $275 million to expand a Tennessee battery cell factory for electric vehicles. Officials with the companies had already pledged to spend $2.3 billion to build a battery plant in […]
16 hours ago
FILE - A vehicle drives past the Jefferson oil drill site located in the residential area in Los An...
Associated Press

Los Angeles City Council votes to ban oil and gas drilling

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously on Friday to ban drilling of new oil and gas wells and phase out existing ones over the next 20 years. The vote comes after more than a decade of complaints from city residents that pollution drifting from wells was affecting their health. Los Angeles was once a […]
16 hours ago
FILE - This image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) sho...
Associated Press

US plans end to mpox public health emergency in January

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government plans to end in January the public health emergency it declared earlier this year after an outbreak of mpox infected more than 29,000 people across the U.S. Mpox cases have plummeted in recent weeks, with just a handful of new infections being reported every week in the month of […]
16 hours ago
FILE - A Dixie Valley toad sits atop grass in Dixie Valley, Nev., on April 6, 2009. The tiny Nevada...
Associated Press

Nevada toad in geothermal power fight gets endangered status

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A tiny Nevada toad at the center of a legal battle over a geothermal power project has officially been declared an endangered species after U.S. wildlife officials temporarily listed it on a rarely-used emergency basis last spring. “This ruling makes final the listing of the Dixie Valley toad,” the U.S. Fish […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Tennessee Valley Authority President Jeffrey Lyash speaks with the Times Free Press from the...
Associated Press

Utility recommends natural gas plant despite objections

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The nation’s largest public utility on Friday recommended replacing an aging coal burning power plant with natural gas, ignoring calls for the Tennessee Valley Authority to speed its transition to renewable energy. TVA announced the completion of its environmental impact statement for replacing the Cumberland Fossil Plant near Cumberland City, Tennessee. […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

How major US stock indexes fared Friday 12/2/2022

Worries about inflation weighed on Wall Street, leaving major indexes mixed after another bumpy day of trading. A government report showing that wage growth accelerated last month spooked investors since it could mean the Federal Reserve will be less able to ease up on its fight against inflation. The yield on the two-year Treasury, which […]
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Voters to decide Nevada version of Equal Rights Amendment