Two bills that could
affect Delaware's gays and lesbians -- one that would grant
rights, and another that would take them away -- are winding
their way through Dover's legislative houses.
Delaware's house of
representatives is considering legislation that could
ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing,
employment, public works contracting, public accommodations,
and insurance. Meanwhile, the senate is debating whether to
constitutionally ban same-sex marriage.
According to Delaware Online
, the anti-discrimination bill has a better chance of passing,
since the marriage bill is seen as overreaching and
could limit future efforts at Delaware civil unions.
"As I like to say,
when my mother was born women did not have the right to vote in
this country," Bob Martz, of the gay rights group Delaware
Liberty Fund, told Delaware Online. "In Delaware,
segregation was the norm in many places, and before I die, I
think we will eliminate discrimination against
Previously, the senate
stood in the way of an anti-discrimination bill, but new senate
rules have increased the odds of passage. The bill is headed
for legislative action very soon.
marriage bill, though, requires a three-fifths vote in
both chambers, not only in this session but in the legislative
session that begins in January 2011. The bill is sponsored by
Sen. Robert L. Venables Sr., a 76-year-old pro-gun rights,
anti-gay rights Democrat.