Sammy Nickalls
July 19, 2015 1:04 pm

In the world of LGBTQ rights, we’ve been celebrating so many moments this past month that will go down in history. On June 26th, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that all 50 states must recognize same-sex unions. Now, we’re celebrating a wonderful triumph once again . . . this time in the American media. Last night, NBC Nightly News appointed Thomas Roberts as anchor, making him the very first openly gay man to anchor an evening network newscast in America.

With millions of viewers watching, Roberts stepped in as anchor last night, leading with a story about Donald Trump’s controversial comments on Senator John McCain’s war record. He then continued with the newscast for the next 30 minutes with an easy, effortless flow that has come from his years of extensive experience.

Roberts, who told The Advocate today that his new position is a “huge honor,” has been with MSNBC since 2010, and he debuted back in March as the sole anchor of a two-hour newscast, MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts. “I spent half my life, 21 years, working in local markets, cable, syndication, and network to get to this moment,” Roberts told The Advocate of his newscast back in March.

After growing up in suburban Baltimore, he scored his first job at age 23 in San Diego with KSND TV, then his first reporting gig in Nebraska. From there he took an investigative reporter job in Florida and worked in local news in Virginia.

Roberts, now 42, first came out to his mother at age 27. “That special moment,” Roberts told The Advocate, “her way of figuring out what I wanted to say but couldn’t, her way of telling me, ‘This is OK, we can do this’ — that gave me the confidence I needed to carry on.”

Roberts, who is now married to Patrick Abner, professionally came out back in 2006 at a gay and lesbian journalists’ conference. “[Those running the network] saw the potential obstacles, and I did too,” he told The Advocate in March of his decision to come out. “I felt like the world would stop if I came out. . . Being gay is a blessing. Coming out was not easy. It was a ring of fire. And we can be our own worst enemy. But I’m happy with who I am, being married to a wonderful husband.”

In March, he told The Advocate that being an anchor “would be historic, and I am willing and able. . . I’m working in the land of opportunity.” And now, the call has been made. Roberts has officially become the first openly gay U.S. network news anchor, and the world is celebrating.

We could not possibly be happier for Thomas, who has worked for over half his life to get to where he is today. NBC picked the perfect person for the job: a hard-working, qualified pioneer who has dedicated so many of his years to reporting the facts. And now, that same man has made history in the media, LGBTQ rights, and America. Congratulations, Thomas: you so, so deserve it.

(Images via Twitter.)

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