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Stories from the KUNR newsroom and regional partners related to the 2022 elections

Breaking down Nevada Question 1 on equal rights

A roll of red, white and blue “I Voted” stickers sits sideways on a white tabletop. The background is out of focus.
Lucia Starbuck
/
KUNR Public Radio
Story

On the Nevada ballot this year, voters will be asked about whether or not the Equal Rights Amendment in the Nevada Constitution should include more protections.


What is Question 1 on the 2022 ballot?

Question 1 proposes an amendment that would guarantee equal rights regardless of “race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry, or national origin” if approved by voters. At the moment, the Nevada Constitution does not include this language.


How does it differ from the current constitutional language?

Nevada ratified an Equal Rights Amendment in 2017, but it only aimed to protect against discrimination based on sex. Voting “Yes” would protect against other forms of discrimination.

Escenthio Marigny, Jr., a coordinator of public humanities in the Department of Gender, Race, and Identity at the University of Nevada, Reno, says making the amendment more inclusive would benefit minority groups.

“The point of, I think, having this would ensure that people have recourse to fight back against any form of discrimination they may receive based on their identity,” said Marigny.


What do supporters think of Question 1?

Marigny says this proposal has been a longtime coming.

“I mean, it’s bare minimum to acknowledge that people and communities and identities that have been disadvantaged historically might need some at least legal recognition and protection at the start, right? To be able to push back against that in that realm,” said Marigny.


Who opposes Question 1?

Currently, there are three conservative advocacy organizations that oppose Question 1, according to testimonies filed to an assembly elections committee: Alliance Defending Freedom, Nevada Families for Freedom, and Pro-Life League of Nevada. A main argument the opponents cite is that Question 1 would restrict religious liberty.


How do voters feel about Question 1 overall?

According to a poll conducted by The Nevada Independent and OH Predictive Insights, roughly 72 percent of those who participated would be in support of adding this new language to the Nevada Constitution.

The language was passed by the Nevada Legislature last session and only needs to be approved by voters once to be added to the state constitution.

Transcript

JOSE DAVILA IV, HOST: On the Nevada ballot this year, voters will be asked about whether or not the Equal Rights Amendment in the Nevada Constitution should include more protections. KUNR’s Nick Stewart breaks it down.

NICK STEWART, REPORTER: Question 1 proposes a state constitutional amendment to protect people from discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, disability, and more, if approved by voters.

Many states did not have enough votes to pass the ERA for decades until many states, including Nevada, ratified it in 2017. There are still legal disputes over whether to add that amendment to the U.S. constitution.

The current ERA only protects against sexual discrimination.

Escenthio Marigny, Jr. is the coordinator of public humanities at the University of Nevada, Reno. He says the new protections offered by Nevada’s Question 1 were a longtime coming.

EXCERPT FROM ESCENTHIO MARIGNY, JR.: I mean, it’s bare minimum to acknowledge that people and communities and identities that have been disadvantaged historically might need some at least legal recognition and protection at the start, right?

STEWART: Voting “Yes” would protect against other forms of discrimination. Marigny Jr. says that making the amendment more inclusive would benefit minority groups.

EXCERPT FROM ESCENTHIO MARIGNY, JR.: I think some of the things ... is more than symbolic, but I think it potentially could lead to legal recourse, right? You know, the point of, I think, having this would ensure that people have recourse to fight back against any form of discrimination they may receive based on their identity.

STEWART: There are three conservative advocacy organizations that oppose Question 1, according to testimonies filed to the state assembly elections committee. A primary argument cited by opponents is that Question 1 would limit religious liberty.

An overwhelming majority of Nevada voters support Question 1, according to an August poll conducted by The Nevada Independent and OH Predictive Insights.

The language for Question 1 was passed by the Nevada Legislature in 2019. If voters approve it next month, it will be added to the state constitution.

For KUNR News, I’m Nick Stewart.

This audio news story aired on KUNR FM on Wednesday, Oct. 12.

Nick Stewart is a student reporter for KUNR and is studying journalism at the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno.
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