NBA referee Violet Palmer announces she is gay

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Violet Palmer became the first female to referee an NBA game in 1997. And Palmer has announced this week that she is gay.

The announcement came, because she is marrying her longtime partner, and is treating it as her official public coming out. Palmer will marry hair stylis, Tanya Stine in Los Angeles this friday. 

The couple have been together for 20 years, and she came out to her fellow referees back in 2007. Her official statement read as follows: "This is actually the big formal coming out. We are saying to the world, to everyone, here's my wife of 20 years. This is the big coming out."

Palmer is the most accomplished female referee in major sports history. When Palmer refereed the 2014 NBA All-Star game, she became the first female to officiate an All Star game in the four major U.S. sports. 

The California-native made history when she officiated the Vancouver Grizzlies versus Dallas Mavericks NBA game on October 31, 1997.

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