The Nevada state Senate just passed a same-sex marriage bill, by a vote of 12-9. The bill, which puts marriage on the ballot in 2016, removes the state ban on same-sex marriage and adds language including all marriages, “regardless of gender,” still need to be voted upon by the Nevada House.
Lawmakers would have to pass the bill again in 2015, before a people’s vote the following year.
During debate, as usual, there were many impassioned and eloquent speeches, and some less eloquent and impassioned, like that of Republican Mark Hutchison, who said he would be voting “no” because of his faith — as if there were no separation of church and state.
But the most exhilarating moment came when Democratic state senator Kelvin Atkinson announced for the first time publicly, “I am a black gay male and I know some of you have never heard me say that.”
Senator Atkinson, who said he had not intended to speak on the bill, also told his colleagues that he was disappointed by some of their comments to him about the bill, not knowing that he is gay, and he added, if this bill hurts your marriage your marriage was in trouble before the bill.
Three years is a long time, and Nevada, even if they pass legislation allowing the people to vote, may find that ballot measure moot by then.
UPDATE 1: Late last night, Senator Atkinson tweeted our story! Thank you Senator Atkinson, for your bravery, and for your support!
Nevada Senate Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill — Senator Comes Out During Debate | The New Civil Rights fb.me/22vSy3ZHZ
— Kelvin Atkinson (@katkinson702) April 23, 2013
Image: Nevada state Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D) who voted for the bill
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