Eight same-sex couples filed a federal lawsuit in an effort to have Nevada's gay marriage ban overturned.
The federal suit was filed Tuesday by gay rights advocacy group Lambda Legal.
It named Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval as well as the county clerks in Clark, Washoe and Carson City counties.
The lawsuit says the state's constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2002 that bans same-sex marriage is a violation of the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.
"Nevada consigns these couples to the second class status of domestic partnership, a second class status that sets their families apart as less worthy and less deserving and denies them the universally understood and honored designation of marriage," said Lamba Legal attorney Tara Borelli.
Among the eight same-sex couples listed as plaintiffs are Beverly Sevcik and Mary Baranovich, who have been together for more than 40 years.
"All we want is to be able to express the same love and commitment through marriage as other families," Sevcik said. "For me, when you love someone you marry that person. It breaks my heart that I cannot marry the person I cherish most in the world."
Under Nevada state law, the state constitution item would have to be repealed by voters in two successive elections.
By filing a federal case, the end game is to sidestep that and have federal courts supercede the state issue.
"The real question would come down to will a federal court say this violates the federal constitution, and if a federal court says so, then it's out immediately," said UNLV Law Professor Thomas McAffee. "You don't have to amend the state constitution to get the job done."
This could eventually end up in the U.S. Supreme Court, but so far they have not taken on this issue.
We called the governor's office for comment and was referred to the state attorney general's office, who said they would review the filings before deciding how to proceed.
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Friday, July 25 2014 8:25 PM EDT2014-07-26 00:25:53 GMT
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