It was quite a moving show last night in the Nevada State Senate, as a Joint Resolution was passed that would repeal the Constitutional ban on marriage equality in that state, as passed by voters over a decade ago.
All of the state Senate's Democrats supported the resolution, and one Republican jumped onto the right side of history in a surprise last-minute move. One Democratic Senator even came out as gay during the floor proceedings.
The measure passed the Nevada Senate 12 to 9 and will now head to the Assembly. If successful there, it will face one more vote in both chambers in 2015 before appearing on the 2016 ballot for approval by voters who, according to recent polls there, are now believed to be in favor of lifting the ban. So, as MLK famously said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
Dramatic speeches on the floor during debate on the resolution led even jaded long-time Nevada report Jon Ralston, who covered the debate live via his Twitter feed, to observe: "Too often we who cover politics think of these people as automatons pressing a red or green button. Not tonight. Raw, emotional, human."
"Great to be not just a witness to history (or the beginning, at least), but to see politicians stripped down to who they are was something," he noted, before adding: "I feel sorry for reporters who weren't here to feel the electricity in this chamber."
But with Democrats across the country now seemingly falling over themselves to suddenly support marriage equality --- redefining the word "evolution" (or, perhaps, more accurately, attempting to redefine the word "flip-flop") --- even Republicans, at least Republicans in the Northeast, are also now showing signs of scrambling to get onto the right side of history as well.
This early evidence of that arrived in my inbox this morning, from the FreedomToMarry.org group...
Providence - Today all five Republicans in the Rhode Island Senate announced their support for S38, the marriage bill to end the statewide exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage, and their intention to vote for it on the floor. The bill passed easily in the Rhode Island House of Representatives in January, and the state's Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to hold a vote on it today. This will be the first time ever that a party caucus in a legislative branch --- Republican or Democratic --- will have voted unanimously in favor of freedom to marry legislation.
"Today's showing of support illustrates the irreversible shift in Republicans' understanding of why marriage matters to same-sex couples and their families," said Tyler Deaton, campaign manager of Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry. "Same-sex couples want to marry for the same reasons as anyone else - to take vows in front of their loved ones, to protect their families, and to share in the responsibilities that marriage brings. As the Republican Party continues to evolve, these elected officials' united stance sends a clear message to the rest of the GOP: stand on the side of marriage and the right side of history."
Ed J. Lopez, a Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry leadership committee member who is National Vice Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus, said: "Rhode Island Republicans are leading the way to a more inclusive GOP --- one that can continue to grow and stay relevant as America changes. Their actions today show that not only do they know the freedom to marry is completely in line with conservative values like personal liberty and the importance of family, they are working to make it a reality."
Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry is a campaign to highlight and build support for the freedom to marry among young conservatives across America. They represent the rapidly growing numbers of young conservatives across the country that agree all Americans should be able to share in the freedom to marry.
Of course, it's much easier for Republicans in the "liberal" Northeast to support such measures, even though marriage equality is clearly a conservative value (even if pretend "conservatives" have yet to be instructed on that.) But, as we have argued here for years, this fight is already won. The only question that remains now is how long it will take the cowards and bigots and misinformed to realize that.