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A Nevada state senator on Monday publicly announced for the first time that he's gay -- in the middle of a debate over same-sex marriage.
Sen. Kelvin Atkinson (D-North Las Vegas) made his announcement on the state Senate floor, during his speech in support of repealing Nevada's gay marriage ban. According to The Las Vegas Sun, Atkinson first described how his father's interracial marriage would once have been banned.
"I'm 44 years old. I have a daughter. I’m black. I'm gay," Atkinson said in an emotional declaration. "I know some of you [this is] the first time hearing me say that, that I am a black, gay male."
He said he's heard some people say "some nasty ugly things because they didn't know that." After he voted for domestic partnerships a few years ago, he said he had a constituent tell him she wasn't going to support him any more because he "was pretty much dumbing down her marriage."
"Some people really really have this thing in their head, if marriage equality is passed, then somehow it interrupts their marriage...I told her, 'If this somehow interrupts your marriage, then your marriage was in trouble in the first place,'" Atkinson said.
According to The Sun, the state Senate voted 12-9 to pass a resolution to start the process of repealing the state's constitutional gay marriage ban. Just one Republican, state Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, joined with Democrats to vote in support of repealing the ban.