CARSON CITY — Assemblyman Andrew Martin was legally married to his longtime domestic partner, Dana Barooshian, in the nation’s capital Sunday.
The wedding was held at Morton’s in Washington, D.C., as part of a fundraiser for Helping Our Brothers and Sisters, a nonprofit organization that provides direct assistance and mentoring to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender veterans and youth.
The couple have been together since 1986. They wore matching purple shirts, ties and suit for the wedding ceremony, which Martin referred to as formal, but also casual. They plan a honeymoon in January.
Martin, D-Las Vegas, was one of a record five publicly acknowledged gay members at the 2013 Legislature.
With passage of a bill in Hawaii on Tuesday, 16 states will allow gay marriage. The governors of Illinois and Hawaii have not yet signed sanctioning bills but have promised to do so within days. Hawaii legislators approved the bill in part to induce gay couples to vacation and marry in their state.
Martin said it is a shame Nevada has not legalized gay marriage, if only for the financial benefits of many gay couples coming to Las Vegas to marry.
“The amount of money we expended on this wedding, I would rather have spent in Nevada,” he said.
Nevada legislators in the spring approved a resolution to allow same-sex marriages in Nevada. The resolution must be approved again in 2015 before it can be placed before voters in the 2016 general election.
“We cannot have separate classes of laws for separate classes of people,” Martin said in his floor speech in favor of Senate Joint Resolution 13, which would change the Nevada Constitution to repeal the same-sex marriage ban and replace it with a right to same-sex marriage.
Because Nevada does not now accept gay marriages, the couple went to Washington, which does per a high court ruling. Power to allow such marriages was given to the states when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act in the summer. Nevada’s law outlawing gay marriage is on appeal before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Now that the federal government recognizes same-sex marriages, it was time for us to have the ceremony we wanted 27 years and 3 months ago,” the men said in a statement.
During the legislative session, Martin, 49 and Barooshian, 46, mentored members of the Carson City High School Gay Straight Alliance, inviting them to Equality Days at the Legislature and attending their National Day of Silence anti-bullying rally on campus.
“What these teens really needed was someone to believe in them. With our marriage, I hope we can be good role models,” said both in a statement.
Both Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki and Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, were in Washington at the time of the marriage and stopped by to offer their congratulations.
“We feel marriage shows a commitment that is very important to us,” said Martin in a phone conversation. “In our society, being married adds a legitimacy to the relationship. We are proud to hold ourselves out as married.”
He noted both their families support their relationship and marriage. Some of Martin’s relatives attended the wedding. His and Barooshian’s parents were too sick to attend but sent videos expressing their happiness over the wedding.
Martin, a certified public accountant, has run his own accounting firm for 20 years and spent about 10 years auditing records in the White House Travel Office during a scandal in the 1990s. He is expected to run for state controller in the 2014 election.
Instead of gifts, the couple request donations to Helping Our Brothers and Sisters: www.HelpingOurBrothersandSisters.org.
Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at email@example.com or 775-687-3901.