Nevada Inches Closer to Marriage Equality
Nevada may be on the verge of legalizing gay marriage as the state's assembly recently approved a measure that would allow same-sex couples to tie the knot, the Las Vegas Sun reports.
The Nevada Assembly voted 24-17 on Thursday to remove the ban on gay marriage from the state's Constitution. Senate Joint Resolution 13 already passed the Senate and now needs the approval of the 2015 Legislature to get on the 2016 ballot.
The measure states "all legally valid marriages shall be treated equally under the law."
"We have been denied our civil rights and equality under the law," Assemblyman Andrew Martin, D-Las Vegas, who is openly gay and has been with his partner for 27 years. Assemblyman Elliot Anderson, D-Las Vegas, called out opponents, who claim the measure should not go against the public's 2000 and 2002 votes, when voters decided to ban gay marriage.
"Public opinion is evolving rapidly on this issue," Anderson said. "The will of the voters is changing."
Predictably, lawmakers against marriage equality spewed the same rhetoric that has lost them votes recently in marriage decisions in Delaware and Minnesota.
"I believe that marriage between a man and woman is ordained by God," Assemblyman Cresent Hardy, R-Mesquite, said. "God has commanded that sacred powers of procreation are only to be employed between a man and a woman lawfully wedded as man and wife."
The Senate approved the measure by with a 12-9 vote.
The Nevada Assembly heard dramatic testimony from lawmakers and citizens, including 18-year-old Riley Roberts, who delivered a touching and compelling speech, Gay Star News reports.
The Nevada teen explained why his two mothers deserve equal rights and should be able to get legally married.
"I was born in Reno, Nevada 18 years ago, and guess who was there? My mom Pamela Roberts and Gretchen Miller, my loving parents," Roberts said. "And who was there to watch me take my first steps? Pamela Roberts and Gretchen Miller. And who was there when I said my first words? My two loving parents."
"And who was there when I kicked my first soccer ball? My two loving parents. And who can I talk to when I need anything? My two loving parents," he continued. "And who will be there to see me walk across the stage next month and receive my honors diploma? My two gay loving parents who have been together for 22 years. They have been with me on my journey through my life, they have supported me through everything."
Roberts' speech was recorded and has since gone viral.
Check out the clip below: