Monday night, the Nevada Senate voted 12-9 to repeal the state’s constitutional amendment banning the recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages. That language would be replaced to recognize all marriages between two people, “regardless of gender.” As BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner points out, the Senate is the first legislative chamber in the country to affirm the overturn of a marriage amendment.
The debate lasted over an hour, during which one Senator came out for the first time. Sen. Kelvin Atkinson (D) announced, “I’m black. I’m gay… I know this is the first time many of you have heard me say that I am a black, gay male.” Atkinson pointed out that his father’s interracial marriage would have similarly been banned decades ago, suggesting to detractors, “If this hurts your marriage, then your marriage was in trouble in the first place.”
Despite this victory, the bill has a long road ahead. Not only does it still have to pass the state Assembly, but both chambers will have to pass it again during the next session in 2015. Following that, it must pass a referendum, which would likely take place in 2016.
Watch video of the hearing. Sen. Atkinson’s testimony, including his coming out, begins around 39:40.