U.S. Senate candidates from Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto, (D) (above, left) and Adam Laxalt (R) (above, right)
By GLAAD.org | October 19, 2022
Early voting begins in Nevada on October 22, and voters will have a choice between candidates of starkly different priorities and values. Approximately 5.5% of Nevada’s population is LGBTQ, the third-highest rate in the country. And a sizeable portion of the community, 22% of LGBTQ adults in Nevada, are raising children, making LGBTQ rights and protections integral to life in the state—and making the LGBTQ electorate a necessary component to winning an election.
Silver State Equality, Nevada’s statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, and GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, released a fact sheet on the LGBTQ records of candidates running for office in Nevada this November.
Silver State Equality and GLAAD urge the media to include LGBTQ+ people and issues in their coverage this campaign season and to ask the candidates about their public statements, policies, and proposals for LGBTQ+ Nevadans. Polling and turnout analysis from the 2020 election indicate that LGBTQ voters played a deciding role in the victory of Joe Biden for President and in battleground states and districts that made the deciding difference in key races that determined control of the U.S. Senate and House – including in Nevada.
Research on what’s at stake in Nevada and the candidates’ records is available here. Additional background from Silver State Equality about polling locations and how to vote in Nevada can be found here. Five out LGBTQ people are running for office in Nevada – more information about them is available here. GLAAD’s Tip Sheet for Journalists Covering the 2022 Election is here.
Statement from André Wade, State Legislative Director of Silver State Equality: “Nevadans deserve to know how their candidates plan to address LGBTQ people’s rights in order to ensure their safety and well-being and to be able to take care of their families in all areas of life. We hope all LGBTQ people in Nevada and their allies will register and make a plan to vote so that our community’s voices are heard. Silver State Equality will do everything we can to ensure a strong turnout at the ballot box this fall, highlighting the issues that matter in LGBTQ people’s lives.”
Statement from Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD: “Ensuring the strongest possible turnout from the LGBTQ community could make the difference in Nevada this November and for the entire country. Media should take this important opportunity to discuss what’s at stake and share the LGBTQ records of the candidates, which have been unexplored thus far. Marriage equality and access to abortion as well as other lifesaving healthcare are all on the ballot. The outcome of this election will have a powerful and meaningful impact for all LGBTQ people in Nevada. Our basic human rights and freedoms are at stake.”
On Sunday, October 2, IndyFest hosted the first and likely only gubernatorial debate in Nevada, which aired on local news stations Monday night. Silver State Equality and GLAAD reached out to the moderator ahead of time to urge inclusion of LGBTQ-specific questions, which were unfortunately not included. The groups will continue contacting moderators and reporters to include LGBTQ people and issues in the campaign conversation.
Media covering Nevada’s 2022 midterm elections should note the candidates’ LGBTQ records and ask the candidates about them. The records include:
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D, incumbent) (above, left)
- Three-time co-sponsor of Equality Act (most recently at the bill introduction in February 2021), which would provide federal protections against discrimination for every LGBTQ American. The bill passed in a bipartisan victory in the U.S. House and is currently awaiting action in the Senate. She said: “LGBTQ+ Americans have fiercely fought for social and political equality for decades but continue to face discrimination in a host of areas. No American should be excluded from fair opportunities to obtain housing, education, employment, or anything else because of who they are or who they love. I’m proud to support the Equality Act, and I will continue to fight for the fundamental rights of communities in Nevada that face harmful and unjust barriers.”
- Sponsored the international Human Rights Defense Act in 2020 to direct the Department of State to continue its efforts in defending the human rights of LGBTQ people around the world related to criminalization, discrimination, and violence.
- Cosponsored the Violence Against Women Act this past spring in a push particularly to help protect indigenous girls and women and which also included her bipartisan Fairness for Rape Kit Backlog Survivors Act.
- Sponsored legislation in 2019 to provide much-needed resources to state and local law enforcement agencies to complete forensic analyses of crime scenes and untested rape kits. She passed the bipartisan Not Invisible Act and Savanna’s Act to help address the epidemic of missing, murdered, and trafficked Indigenous women.
- Criticized Senators’ efforts to enact a national abortion ban saying: “Right now we’re seeing some politicians once again declare that they know what’s best for every family in this nation. They want to force the state of Nevada—and other states like Nevada—to limit women’s freedoms, even though voters in my state voted to legally protect the right to choose that Nevada women have had for fifty years.”
Adam Laxalt (R) (above, right)
- Referred to the nearly 50 years of abortion precedent under Roe v. Wade as “a joke” and refused to directly answer questions about the proposed federal ban on abortion.
- Praised Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for signing the “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law which bans classroom discussion of LGBTQ people, families, and history, baselessly claiming: “I think what you’ve seen over the last few days out of Disney and the rest of the woke-left army is proof positive of why DeSantis put forward this bill and why they needed this bill. I mean, why in the world? Are they fighting so hard for the ability to indoctrinate kids from age, kindergarten to third grade? Why are they fighting… against this bill? If it were not because they want to be able to indoctrinate kids at these ages.”
- Opposed marriage equality, vowing to “vigorously” defend Nevada’s now-defunct marriage ban as attorney general, going against the administration of then-Governor Brian Sandoval (a Republican).
- Supported allowing health care providers to refuse to care for LGBTQ people, praising the Trump administration for allowing health care workers to refuse treatment to transgender patients.
- Supported banning LGBTQ people from serving openly in the military.
- Stated in 2010: “It is one thing for the military to ask its members to accept homosexuals, but another for the military to ask its members to accept and live with homosexuality, the homosexual lifestyle.”
- Endorsed by and has a longstanding relationship with former President Trump, who said: “I’ve known Adam Laxalt for a long time and support him 100%.” The Trump Administration deployed more than 200 policies and statements against LGBTQ Americans.
Gov. Steve Sisolak (D, incumbent) (above, left)
- Signed four pieces of legislation in 2021 in support of LGBTQ Nevadans related to data collection, promoting LGBTQ-owned businesses, and improving public health efforts for people living with HIV, stating: “Nevada is known as a warm and welcoming place for all—in our State, we celebrate our diversity. I am so grateful to sign legislation to ensure that our LGBTQ+ community feels safe, protected and can continue to grow and flourish in the Silver State.”
- Signed AB 261, a bill requiring school districts to make certain that K–12 students are instructed on LGBTQ people’s history and contributions, and promoting more diversity and inclusion in school curricula.
- Marched in Las Vegas Pride parades and issued a declaration recognizing the Transgender Day of Visibility, stating that he is “proud Nevada is a diverse state” and leading the nation on LGBTQ issues.
- Called school censorship bills passed in Florida and elsewhere discriminatory: “It’s hateful, and there’s no place for it anywhere and it certainly has no place in Nevada.”
- Stated that embracing the LGBTQ community makes Nevada a better place: “We need to do what we can to make Nevada and Las Vegas (and) Clark County more welcoming, more diverse and more loving, when it comes to people of all races, creeds, colors, sexual persuasion, whatever it might be.”
- Spoke at the Silver State Equality Awards in September 2022 about the need to continue prioritizing LGBTQ equality, saying:: “Now that basic human rights are under attack at the national level, it is more important than ever to elect leaders up and down the ballot who are committed to protecting our fundamental freedoms.”
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R) (above, right)
- Expressed support for Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prohibits any discussion of LGBTQ people or history in school classrooms.
- Stated that he opposes allowing transgender girls to play on sports teams that match who they are.
- Claimed to be the first elected sheriff in Nevada to directly address the LGBTQ community and that he wanted his department to better represent all members of the community.
Key U.S. House of Representatives election races in Nevada
- 1st District
- Rep. Dina Titus (D, incumbent) (above, left)
- Cosponsored legislation to ensure the United States government will treat LGBTQI rights as human rights throughout its foreign policy and will not tolerate discrimination or violence against LGBTQI people, saying: “No person should suffer from discrimination because of who they are or whom they love … The United States has the opportunity to set an example for the rest of the world by protecting the rights of LGBTQI people at home and abroad.”
- Voted for the Equality Act to ensure federal nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans.
- Supported legislation improving data collection for LGBTQ people, opposing discrimination against qualified, licensed LGBTQ foster and adoptive families, and improving health care access and treatment for people living with HIV.
- Col. Mark Robertson (R) (above, right)
- In March, defended one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQ bills signed into law this year, Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which censors any mention of LGBTQ people or issues in schools.
- Rep. Dina Titus (D, incumbent) (above, left)
- 3rd District
- Rep. Susie Lee (D, incumbent) (above, right)
- Received the Ally Leadership Award at the 2022 Silver State Equality Awards for her commitment to working in the House Equality Caucus, co-sponsoring pro-LGBTQ legislation, and meeting regularly with LGBTQ advocates.
- Supports the Respect for Marriage Act as well as the Equality Act, stating: “I think this is an essential human rights issue and making sure that people have protections against discrimination in housing, employment, any core aspects of life,” Lee said. “I’ve long been a champion for equality, and this is something that is a top priority for me and will continue to be.”
- Attorney April Becker (R) (above, left)
- Opposes inclusion in schools of what she calls “divisive political arguments, like Critical Race Theory … We should teach our students the good and bad of our history, not a political theory that seeks to divide and segregate them.”
- Rep. Susie Lee (D, incumbent) (above, right)
- 4th District
- Rep. Steven Horsford (D, incumbent) (above, left)
- Cosponsored legislation twice supporting the goals and ideals of GLSEN’s Day of Silence in bringing attention to anti-LGBTQ name-calling, bullying, and harassment faced by individuals in schools.
- Cosponsored legislation recognizing the International Transgender Day of Visibility.
- Supported reintroduction of the Equality Act and a number of related bills to improve the lives of LGBTQ people in 2021, saying: “Every American — no matter their sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation — deserves the right to live free from discrimination and prejudice.”
- Sam Peters (R) (above, right)
- Opposed the CROWN Act, a bill that prohibits discrimination based on hair style and hair texture. Nevada passed a version of the bill last year, though a federal version remains stalled in the Senate. He said: “I’m so tired of seeing the crisis at the border continue to escalate while Congress prioritizes on issues such as discrimination against hair in the workplace.”
- Pledged to re-introduce and sponsor the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a bill that seeks to criminalize abortions past 20 weeks, with exections for rape, incest and the life of the mother.
- Supports the Conscience Protection Act, which would provide protections to health care providers that refuse to provide abortions based on religious beliefs or other convictions.
- Rep. Steven Horsford (D, incumbent) (above, left)
- About 127,000 LGBTQ adults live in Nevada, an estimated 9% of the state electorate in the 2020 general election.
- Approximately 5.5 percent of Nevada’s population are members of the LGBTQ community — the third-highest rate in the country. 22% of LGBTQ adults in Nevada are raising children.
- 85% of Nevada voters support laws that protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination—the fifth-highest level of public support for LGBTQ rights of any state in the country,
- A startling 70% of LGBTQ Americans say discrimination has increased over the past two years.
- There are nine openly LGBTQ elected officials currently serving in Nevada.
- Nevada is one of 21 states across the country with comprehensive LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections. Since 1999, LGBTQ nondiscrimination law in Nevada has protected people from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation. In 2011, that law was expanded to include gender identity and expression.
- The Equality Act, which would provide comprehensive protections against discrimination to every LGBTQ+ American, is awaiting action in the U.S. Senate. The bill prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system.
Early voting in the general election in Nevada will take place from Oct. 22–Nov. 4. For more information about Nevada voter registration deadlines, visit https://www.nvsos.gov/sos/elections/voters/registering-to-vote.
About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love.
About Silver State Equality: As Nevada’s statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, Silver State Equality brings the voices of LGBTQ+ people and allies to institutions of power in Nevada and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people.