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On Monday night, the Nevada Senate voted by a margin of 12-9 to start repealing the state’s gay marriage ban from the constitution.

And while the floor debate was heated and emotional at times, no speech stood out more than that of Senator Kelvin Atkinson. He came out as a gay in front of his colleagues.

“I’m black. I’m gay,” Atkinson told the assembly, his voice trembling. “I know this is the first time many of you have heard me say that I am a black, gay male.”

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Atkinson – a single father – subsequently rejected the argument that gay marriage threatens any so-called traditional definition of marriage.


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

In the end, Republican Ben Kieckhefer joined with Democrats to pass Joint Resolution 13, which will replace the repeal on same-sex marriages with a requirement that Nevada recognizes ALL marriages.

If SJR13 passes, the Legislature would have to approve it again in 2015 and the measure would then be placed on the 2016 ballot.