A State Senator’s Political and Personal Journey to Marriage Equality

Vegas Seven
By Lissa Townsend Rodgers
December 18th, 2014

This year’s landmark decision to repeal Nevada’s ban on gay marriage sent hundreds of same-sex couples marching down the aisle. Nobody was more thrilled to lead the way than Kelvin Atkinson.

Imagine the scales of justice. On one side: religious edict, social norm and legal precedent. On the other side: love. Even the most confirmed cynic knew how this battle was going to end. But the twists in Nevada’s roller-coaster ride to marriage equality were something nobody could have predicted.

The ride finally ended in October, when a legal ruling—many would argue a long-overdue legal ruling—opened the doors to same-sex marriage. Hundreds of couples, supported by loved ones of every sexual orientation, immediately and blissfully burst through those doors, while the Las Vegas tourism industry immediately and blissfully pounced on a new revenue stream. Amid the bouquets, boutonnieres and tears of joy, two things became clear: First, marriage equality, while enormously significant to the LGBT community, was never just a “gay issue.” Second, society at-large has finally accepted a fact that Nevada Senator Kelvin Atkinson has long known: “You don’t control your heart and who you fall in love with.”

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