Nevada state Senate repealed a ban on gay marriage and passed a marriage equality resolution during which the impassioned debate Senator Kelvin Atkinson came out as a gay man
The Nevada state Senate passed a same-sex marriage resolution, by a vote of 12-9.
The resolution passed today (23 April) repeals the state text defining marriage as between a man and a woman, replacing it with ‘the state shall recognize marriages and issue marriage licenses, regardless of gender’.
Same-sex marriage was banned in 2002 when voters passed a constitutional amendment, Nevada Question 2.
Lawmakers would have to pass the resolution again in 2015, and hold a referendum on gay marriage the following year (2016).
Lawmakers who opposed the resolution cited religious concerns and ‘threats’ to the family.
During the debate, Democrat state senator Kelvin Atkinson came out and stated: ‘I am a black gay male and I know some of you have never heard me say that’.
Atkinson also said was disappointed by some comments made towards him and added: ‘if this bill hurts your marriage your marriage was in trouble before the bill’.
The resolution allows faith groups to decide if they wish to perform a marriage ceremony or not.
Paco Poli, editor of The Reno Gay Page, told Gay Star News: ‘In a very conservative state we have worked very hard to get the measure passed the the state senate because there are 11 democrats (3 of which are Mormon) and 10 republicans.
‘The Assembly will be much easier to get approval in as it is 27 democrats and 15 republicans. The bill likely starts the process in the lower house tomorrow as today is the deadline for all bills/resolutions to leave the house of origin or die.
‘The was much more support for the original bill which simply removed the definition of marriage from the state’s constitution.
‘Bipartisanship started waining when it was amended the first time.
‘The second amendment was to insure based on religious beliefs the bill would pass out fo the Senate. the amendment was made during the bills second reading on the Senate floor on April 19 and approved by a vote of 11-10 (party lines)’.
In 2009, the state legislature passed the Domestic Partnership Responsibilities Act 2009 to grant both opposite-sex and same-sex couples all the responsibilities, obligations, rights, entitlements and benefits of marriage within a type of domestic partnership registry without calling it marriage.
Governor Jim Gibbons vetoed the bill but his vote was overturned by the Assembly and Senate on 1 October, 2009.