Lambda Legal is suing in federal court to challenge Nevada's constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples. We represent eight couples who are currently relegated to second-class status by their state constitution.
ANTIOCO CARRILLO & THEODORE SMALL (LAS VEGAS) Antioco Carrillo, 44, and Theodore (Theo) Small, 43, have been a loving, committed couple since 2006. Antioco knows that Theo is “the one” for him, because Antioco cannot see himself with anyone else. For Theo, Antioco is the essential ingredient that allows Theo to be his “best self.” They registered as domestic partners in 2010, but did so quietly and privately without friends or family because it was a sterile process in front of a notary. They want to celebrate their commitment to each other, but will only do so when they can legally marry and have a wedding with all of their loved ones.
KAREN GOODY & KAREN VIBE (RENO) Karen Goody (Karen G.), 51, and Karen Vibe (Karen V.), 37, have been engaged since December 2005. They have not registered as domestic partners because they do not want to enter into a second-class status. Marriage has played an important role in both their lives, with Karen G.’s parents having been married for 50 years before her father passed away, and Karen V.’s parents having been married for more than 40 years. They both want the opportunity to enter into such a state-sanctioned marriage to demonstrate the same depth of love and commitment that their parents did.
FLETCHER WHITWELL & GREG FLAMER (LAS VEGAS) Fletcher Whitwell, 37, and Greg Flamer, 39, have been together for over 14 years and are registered domestic partners in Nevada. In 2011, they adopted a baby girl, Hudson Whitwell. They worry that, as she grows up, Hudson will be deprived of a sense of belonging and may feel socially outcast because of her fathers’ inability to marry. They look forward to the day when Hudson can walk down the aisle at their wedding as their flower girl and understand that her parents’ commitment to one another—and their family—is as great as that felt by other couples who may marry.
MIKYLA & KATRINA MILLER (RENO) Mikyla, 29, and Katrina (Katie), 27, Miller began dating in 2004 and got married in California in 2008. Mikyla adopted Katie’s surname and is carrying the couple’s first child. Their daughter is due in July and will be named Amelia Love Miller, becoming the sixth generation in Katie’s family to have the middle name “Love.” Mikyla and Katie’s wedding ceremony in California was a joyous occasion that helped draw their families closer together. However, it was painful to have their marriage disregarded when they moved to Nevada. They have since registered as domestic partners, but still struggle to have their relationship respected in medical and other settings. After Amelia is born, they would like to insure her through Katie’s health insurance policy, but they can only do so if Katie formally adopts her own child, a burden and indignity that no married couple must endure.
ADELE TERRANOVA & TARA NEWBERRY (LAS VEGAS) Adele Terranova, 31, and Tara Newberry, 37, have been a loving, committed couple since 2005 and were married in California in 2008. They are the mothers of Evan, 2, and Emily, 3 months, and are registered domestic partners in both California and Nevada. They have encountered disrespect for their domestic partnership on many occasions, including a year-and-a-half-long battle to get Tara listed as Evan’s parent on his birth certificate and having hospital staff ask for the “real mom” during an emergency room visit. Official affirmation of their marriage by the state of Nevada would alleviate confusion about Adele and Tara being the “real moms.”
CAREN & FARRELL CAFFERATA-JENKINS (CARSON CITY) Caren, 53, and Farrell, 48, Cafferata-Jenkins have been together for 16 years. They are registered domestic partners in Nevada, and traveled to California in 2008 to marry. They are the mothers of Dean, 8, and Quinn, 7. They held a commitment ceremony in Reno in 2002 which they called a b’rit ahavah, Hebrew for “covenant of love,” because they could not call it a wedding. After returning to Nevada after their 2008 marriage in California, they felt as though the State “unmarried” them and they had to start over from scratch. Both Caren and Farrell’s parents have been married for more than 50 years, and Caren and Farrell yearn for the opportunity to follow in their parents’ footsteps and celebrate a golden anniversary.
MEGAN LANZ & SARA GEIGER (LAS VEGAS) Megan Lanz, 31, and Sara Geiger, 27, have been a committed couple since 2004 when they met in the music program at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Sara proposed to Megan with the engagement ring that Sara’s father had given to her mother, and they were married in Canada in 2006. When Sara gave birth to their daughter, Jordan Geiger-Lanz, in 2009, hospital staff informed Megan that they would “let” her stay with Sara and Jordan, even though they didn’t “have to.” This experience highlighted the vulnerability of Megan’s relationship with her child that results from Nevada’s refusal to recognize the couple’s marriage.