How A New Gun Law Might Have Legalized Gay Marriage In Nebraska

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While everyone’s waiting for the Supreme Court to hear marriage equality cases in April, the state of Nebraska may have accidentally legalized same-sex marriage this week.

Omaha.com reports that the Nebraska state legislature was discussing a bill about—what else—guns when the inadvertent extension of civil liberties happened: Specifically a measure would allows spouses of military personnel to apply for a concealed gun permit without having to wait 180 days to establish residency.

Related: Kentucky Print Shop Welcomes Guns, But Not Gays

Of course that raises the currently thorny question of what constitutes a marriage.

Sen. Paul Schumacher of Columbus, a Republican no less, proposed an amendment that would allow anyone currently receiving federal benefits as a military spouse to qualify for the permit. And thanks to the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act., that includes same-sex couples.

“Is not the Second Amendment sex blind? Color blind?” Schumacher asked. “What great evil would come from saying a partner of somebody in the military … is entitled to exercise their Second Amendment rights to carry a concealed weapon in this state?”

The amendment was adopted by a vote of 38-0 but there’s debate about whether it upends the Cornhusker State’s marriage ban, with progressives torn on supporting gun rights to help the cause of equality.

“I think we just recognized gay marriage,” said Sen. John Murante of Gretna, Nebraska. “We are now using the federal government’s standard for who receives marriage benefits.”

Ain’t America grand?

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery