Nevada’s state Senate approves the first step in overturning its same-sex marriage ban, and a senator comes out.
BY Michelle Garcia
April 23 2013
The Nevada State Senate voted 12-9 to repal the statewide constitutional amendment that currently bars same-sex couples from marrying, after a floor debate in which Sen. Kelvin Atkinson told all of his colleagues that he is gay.
“I’m black. I’m gay,” he said Monday, according to the Las Vegas Sun. “I know this is the first time many of you have heard me say that I am a black gay male.”
Atkinson, who was reportedly very emotional, added that his father, who remarried a woman of another race, would have been barred from doing so earlier in American history. He also argued that establishing marriage equality for same-sex couples would not threaten heterosexual marriages.
“If this hurts your marriage, then your marriage was in trouble in the first place,” he said.
The state senate now has three openly gay members, including senators David Parks and Pat Spearman, with Atkinson.
Sen. Ben Kieckhefer was the only Republican to vote in favor of overturning the constitutional ban. Sen. Ruben Kihuen, a Catholic, said he wasn’t sure if he would “be allowed in church on Sunday,” after voting to repeal the ban, but Mormon senator Justin Jones said he had to vote in support of his gay brother-in-law.
See Also: Think Progress: Nevada Senator Comes Out As Senate Approves Repeal Of Same-Sex Marriage Ban