Timeline - 1995-2009: Political Action and Reaction

1995 – 2009: Political Action and Reaction

  • February 28, 1996: Gays and Lesbians of Color begin meeting bi-weekly at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center.
  • November 5, 1996: David Parks wins election in Assembly District 41—the first openly gay person elected to public office in Nevada. On March 10, 1999, Parks introduces Assembly Bill 311 prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. The bill goes on to win passage in both the Assembly and Senate, and on May 29, 1999, Republican Governor Kenny Guinn signs AB 311, noting that signing the bill is "a matter of fairness and doing what's right for the people of Nevada. I have always felt that discrimination based on race, gender, religion or sexual orientation is wrong, and I hope this law sends that message loud and clear."
  • May 10, 1997: Las Vegas's first Gay Pride Parade, sponsored by the Las Vegas Bugle and marshalled by Auntee Social, winds its way for several miles through Las Vegas from the Flex nightclub to Sunset Park where the Gay Pride rally is being held. This year's rally only draws about 4600 people, considerably fewer than the year before.
Freedom to Marry Fundraiser
  • June 15, 2000: The Coalition for the Protection of Marriage in Nevada files its anti-same-sex marriage initiative petition with the state, known as Question 2, having gathered more than 120,000 signatures—three times the 44,009 required to get the question on the November ballot. In September, Equal Rights Nevada, established to fight the anti-same-sex marriage question (Question Two) scheduled for popular vote in November, holds its first press conference. On November 7, Question 2 passes with a 69.5% vote. The question appears on the ballot again in 2002, passes again, and becomes an amendment to the state constitution.
  • September 7, 2000: The Center Stage, Inc. theater company presents Kate Bornstein's Hidden: A Gender, the first transgender-issue play performed in Las Vegas.
  • December 11, 2000: A new lesbian organization called Betty's Outdoor Adventures—soon changed to Betty's Outrageous Adventures—is founded.
  • March 19, 2001: Despite his anticipation of intense opposition, Nevada State Assemblyman David Parks introduces Assembly Bill 496, which would allow unmarried couples, gay and straight, to sign a Declaration of Reciprocal Beneficiary Relationship. The legislation fails.
  • May 17, 2003: Dan Hinkley, founder of the Stonewall Democratic Club of Southern Nevada, is elected the first openly gay official of the Nevada Democratic Party. At the Democrats' state meeting in Tonopah, Hinkley is elected party secretary.
  • November, 2008: Assembly member David Parks is elected Nevada’s first openly gay State Senator. The state “turns blue” and elects both Barack Obama as President and Dina Titus as member of Congress. 
  • February 17, 2009: AB 184 is introduced by Senator Parks to prohibit discrimination in Nevada based upon gender identity or expression. In March, the Nevada State Senate Commerce and Labor Committee introduces SB 207, adding sexual orientation to Nevada's anti-discrimination laws in matters of public accommodation. Parks and Senator Bob Coffin introduce SB 283, the Nevada Domestic Partnership Act, to establish a Domestic Partners registry in Nevada.
  • April 21-22, 2009: The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada organizes the first-ever LGBTQ grassroots lobbying effort, called Equality Days, in Carson City, Nevada.
  • May - June 2009: In late May, SB 283 is passed by the Nevada Legislature. On May 25th, Governor Jim Gibbons vetoes the bill, only to have his veto overturned by the legislature on June 1st.
  • October 31, 2009: The First Annual Las Vegas Transgender Health Fair is held at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada.
  • November 20, 2009: For the first time, Las Vegas observes the National Transgender Day of Remembrance.