Delaware Unveils Marriage Equality Bill

The strongly democratic state would be the tenth to legalize marriage equality.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

April 11 2013 1:26 PM ET

Just days after Delaware Gov. Jack Markell said that marriage equality can happen in the state, "and it can happen this year," state legislators filed a marriage equality bill.

Most of the state's political leadership, including the governor, lieutenant governor Matt Denn, Speaker of the House Beau Biden, and Senate President Pro Tempore Patricia Blevins, announced the introduction of marriage equality legislation outside the City and County building in Wilmington, Del. on Thursday afternoon. 

The legislative procedure for changing Delaware's laws to encompass marriage equality is relatively simple, reports Slate. Delaware has a state-level marriage statute that prohibits marriage between "people of the same gender," but voters there never amended the state constitution to ban the practice, according to Slate. As such, the legislation aims to revise the statute language and establish marriage equality in the securely democratic state that's home to Vice President Joe Biden. 

Given the state's strong Democratic base — democrats control the Governor's office and both houses of the legislature — equality supporters don't anticipate a drawn-out fight toward equality. 

Sen. Chris Coons, who supports the legislation, told Slate he's been having discussions with people on both sides of the aisle about their thoughts on marriage equality. 

"Some of them don't support marriage equality and have strong reservations for a variety of reasons," Coons told Slate.  "Because of their district, because of their background, their faith tradition. You know, many them are reconsidering after hearing from their constituents, or after seeing the movement nationally toward marriage equality."

But Coons anticipates a supportive verdict from the state legislature, following what he expects will be a "broad, robust debate." 

"We'll be a state whose legal commitment to marriage is strong," Coons promised. 

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