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Court ruling on gay marriage cheered around the state

CARSON CITY — Mary Baranovich, who married her longtime partner, Beverly Sevcik, in January when gay marriage was legalized in Nevada by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, was awakened Friday to the news that the U.S. Supreme Court had resolved the issue nationally in a 5-4 ruling in support of same-sex marriage.

“That is wonderful,” she said. “It was worth being wakened up for.”

Baranovich, who with Sevcik were lead plaintiffs in a successful challenge of Nevada’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, called obtaining the monumental decision a “long struggle.”

“This is going to make a lot of people happy,” she said. “It was bound to happen. Some people will be unhappy, but they will have to get over it.”

Nevadans reacted mostly favorably to the landmark ruling.

About 400 people — some waving rainbow flags, holding signs and wearing shirts in support of the decision — packed the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada for a celebration rally Friday afternoon in Las Vegas.

While he was expecting a favorable ruling from the court, LGBT Center CEO Michael Dimengo said there was no way to know that it would be as sweepingly favorable as it was.

“I am certainly overjoyed at the result,” he said.

Gov. Brian Sandoval said the ruling confirms Nevada’s position that same-sex marriage bans are no longer defensible.

“The highest court in the land has decided the issue once and for all for Nevada and for our nation,” Sandoval said in a written statement. “This decision has a deeply personal impact on many Nevadans and marks a significant moment in our nation’s history. The issue of same-sex marriage is settled in Nevada and we must move forward together, as the Nevada family.”

Tod Story, executive director of the ACLU of Nevada, said the ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges means that all Americans are free to marry the person they love.

State Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, a main sponsor of a the 2013 legislative resolution calling on voters to repeal Nevada’s ban, said the proposal was hugely controversial when it was introduced.

“Now it is the law of the land,” he said.

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid issued this statement in response to the historic decision: “Today the Supreme Court ruled on the right side of history. In every state in our great union, officials will be required to issue the same marriage licenses to loving and committed same-sex couples that straight couples have always been entitled to receive. Every same-sex couple in America now knows that their government will recognize, protect and value their love and commitment.”

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller offered this statement on the ruling: “I personally believe marriage is between a man and a woman. However, I represent Nevadans of many beliefs, and it’s important to be respectful of differing viewpoints on this matter. That is why I respect the decision handed down today by the United States Supreme Court.”

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