The Delaware Senate has passed through committee a bill which would grant equal marriage rights to same-sex couples. This set up a full vote in the Senate next week. The bill, which has the support of Democratic Goveror Jack Markell, cleared the executive committee after a ninety minute hearing.
The vote was close, and it is expected that the vote before the Senate will be close. Should the bill pass in the Senate and be signed by Markell, Delaware will then being the 11th state to legalize same-sex marriage. The final vote for Rhode Island’s marriage equality bill will occur today with Governor Lincoln Chafee signing it into law soon there after.
Delaware currently has civil unions.
Civil unions have no real standing in the US Federal Government, so if the Defense of Marriage Act should be overturned, they would not be recognized.
Jon Rania, a lay ministry associate at Christ Episcopal Church, stated “What matters is that government treats us all as equals under the law.”
The bill does not force anyone to perform same-sex marriages that are in conflict with their religious beliefs. Opponents of the bill want more than that. They want businesses to be able to discriminate at will based upon the owner’s conscience.
In Washington State, Republicans have been trying to pursue a bill that would allow anti-gay businesses to be able to discriminate. The use of this argument in order to oppose equality has not garnered a lot of support, and the attempts to allow businesses to discriminate has garnered little support from anyone outside of the anti-gay groups who oppose equality anyway. The same problems would already exist for a civil union ceremony under current law.
There have only been a handful of cases of discrimination related to marriage equality laws across the country. Most of those have been related to people objecting to marriages by gay couples.