Thursday, January 19, 2012

Challenge To Nevada's Limit On Who Can Perform Marriages Moves Ahead

In Martinez v. Clark County, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5313 (D NV, Jan. 18, 2012), a Nevada federal district court, while dismissing claims against the state attorney general, refused to dismiss claims against the county and county officials challenging the constitutionality of Nevada's statutes limiting who may perform marriage ceremonies.  Under Nevada law, in order to obtain a certificate to solemnize marriages an applicant must be affiliated with a religious organization. The court, finding plaintiffs had standing, allowed them to proceed with their claims that the statute violates the Establishment Clause, Equal Protection clause and Religious Test clause of the federal constitution, as well as the religious liberty protections of the Nevada constitution.