NV Senator Comes Out as Gay in Senate Ahead of Same-Sex Marriage Vote

04/25/2013 09:06

The Nevada State Senate voted in favor of repealing an amendment to the state's Constitution that prohibits same-sex marriage, with a state senator declaring on the floor of the state house that he was gay.

Sen. Kelvin Atkinson, who represent Nevada's 4th district, publicly declared for the first time that he is gay.

"I'm black. I'm gay," Atkinson told the assembly. "I know this is the first time many of you have heard me say that I am a black, gay male."

Atkinson compared his parents interracial marriage to same-sex marriage now, insisting that changing traditional marriage would not change marriage overall.

"If this hurts your marriage, then your marriage was in trouble in the first place," he said.

The Nevada senate voted 12-9, in favor of SJR13 with the sole Republican voting in favor of the amendment being Sen. Ben Kieckhefer.

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State Republicans were concerned with the amendment that would change the structure of marriage held for thousands of years to automatically require that the state recognize same-sex unions.

However, Nevada's governor must still sign the amendment into law and should that happen, the state's legislature would have to re-approve it once more 2015.

Then the measure would be included on the state's 2016 ballot. In 2000 and in 2002, voters in Nevada approved a constitutional amendment that defined marriage as between a man and woman.

While some politicians have recently come out in favor of gay marriage and 30 states have repeatedly voted against the measure, other states are waiting to act until the Supreme Courts highly anticipated ruling on gay marriage is released sometime this summer.

Tom McClusky, senior vice president of government affairs for the Family Research Council, stated that those politicians who chose to change their position on gay marriage did so not from a governing standpoint, but that they were emotionally swayed.

"In this case I think the legislators, in leading with their hearts and not with their minds, are making bad choices for their constituents," McClusky said in a statement.  CP


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