Nevada Legislator Comes Out During Gay Marriage Debate
Nevada’s legislature is considering repealing the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage approved by voters in 2000. During the debate, Senate Democrat Kelvin Atkinson took to the floor:
On Monday, Nevada’s Senate kickstarted the state’s journey down the road toward ultimately repealing a constitutional ban on gay marriage that was first approved by voters in the year 2000.
Lawmakers who helped pass Senate Joint Resolution 13 by a margin of 12 to 9 said public opinion has since shifted in favor of same-sex marriage and a repeal of the ban.
The vote to overturn the ban followed an hour-long floor debate during which Sen. Kelvin Atkinson (D-North Las Vegas) surprised many colleagues by taking the opportunity to formally come out.
“I’m 44 years old. I have a daughter. I’m black. I’m gay,” Atkinson said, the emotion clear in his voice. “I know this is the first time many of you have heard me say that I am a black, gay male.”
Echoing the sentiments expressed by a New Zealand lawmaker ahead of that country’s recent legalization of same-sex marriage, Atkinson assured opponents of marriage equality that “if this hurts your marriage, then your marriage was in trouble in the first place.”