Gay Lawmaker comes out on senate floor

Democrat Kelvin Atkinson represents North Las Vegas in the Nevada Senate.


On Monday, the vote to repeal gay marriage in Nevada played out interestingly when Democrat Kelvin Atkinson used the senate floor as an opportunity to come out of the closet.

After describing his father’s interracial marriage which was at one time banned, Atkinson said, “we’re still talking about equality. We’re still talking about something that we shouldn’t really be talking about anymore.”

“I’m 44 years old. I have a daughter. I’m black. I’m gay,” said an emotional Atkinson. “I have dealt with a lot of what folks are talking about and I know [for] some of you this is the first time hearing me say that, that I am a black gay male.”

“If this hurts your marriage, then your marriage was in trouble in the first place,” Atkinson added.

Below is video of the hearing:

Those who opposed the bill said they were worried they’d be labeled as “insensitive and unenlightened” and supporters said marriage should be extended to same-sex couples. Democrats and Republicans worked together to balance religious convictions with their views on public policy.

One Catholic senator said he voted in favor of the measure after his “more progressive” girlfriend gave him grief for standing against gay marriage rights in the past. A Mormon senator said he couldn’t vote against gay marriage since his brother-in-law is gay.

“I would rather lose an election than look my brother-in-law in the eye every Sunday and tell him he doesn’t have the same rights as I do,” Sen. Justin Jones said. But Sen. Joe Hardy, also a Mormon, voted against the measure and said marriage is “ordained of God” and that same-sex relationships “perpetuate beyond the grave.”

“I do not believe this measure will strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society,” he added.

The vote to repeal the ban on gay marriage passed the state senate by a vote of 12-9 and will fall into the hands of voters in 2016.




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