US: ‘Freedom Nevada’ launched to push for 2016 same-sex marriage ballot

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A coalition of groups advocating for same-sex marriage in the US state of Nevada was launched this week, in order to push for a measure to legalise it in the state.

Freedom Nevada was launched to coincide with Valentine’s Day. It hopes to ensure that a ballot measure in order to allow Nevada residents to approve same-sex marriage, is included in 2016, as expected.

The launch also comes just days after the state admitted defeat and said it would not continue to defend its ban on same-sex couples marrying.

“Freedom Nevada is a campaign to share stories and foster conversation — showing that every gay and lesbian person is part of someone’s family and should be treated with compassion and respect,” Laura Martin, communications director for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada said.

“It’s a public discussion about freedom and liberty,” she went on.

In 2012, a federal judge upheld Nevada’s ban on equal marriage. US District Judge Robert Jones threw out the lawsuit filed by eight gay couples against the 2002 voter-approved constitutional amendment defining marriage as between opposite-sex couples only.

During the Senate debate around a bill to repeal the ban earlier this year, state Senator Kelvin Atkinson nervously announced that he is gay, saying he had not intended to come out, but felt that the time was right. 

“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,” he said.