Lesbian comedian Wanda Sykes has said she had “no intention” of publicly coming out at a gay rights rally back in 2008 and was shocked by her own frankness about her sexuality.

Sykes was part a group of protesters in Las Vegas rallying against the Proposition 8 legislation, which made void LGBT marriages in California.

During her speech, Sykes revealed that she had secretly married her female partner shortly before same-sex marriages were banned. She said: “Everybody who knows me personally, they know I’m gay. And that’s the way people should be able to live [their] lives, really. We shouldn’t have to be standing out here demanding something we automatically should have as citizens of this country.”

Sykes told Piers Morgan on his US talk show this week: “I had no intention of making that speech. I was just there as one of the crowd for support. I kinda shocked myself when I was in the middle of it.

“I felt liberated. The best thing is now – not that I was hiding before – there’s absolutely nothing to hide. I am what I am, this is it. Now there’s nothing I can’t say.”

She added that it taken her parents a while to come round, but that “time, and also my attitude helped. It’s more about communication. It’s a big moment, telling your parents.”

Sykes said that married life with her partner Alex was “great – I’m very happy.”