Delaware poised to pass gay civil unions

by Peter Jesserer Smith

DOVER, Delaware, April 14, 2011 ( – Lawmakers in Delaware are poised to pass legislation that would give homosexual couples a marriage-like legal status that has everything but the name “marriage” attached to it.

On Wednesday the House Administration Committee approved SB 30, the homosexual civil unions bill, in a 4 – 1 vote. The House is expected to take up the legislation Thursday evening.

The Senate already approved the bill last week in a 13-6 vote, and Democrat Gov. Jack Markell has signaled that he will sign the measure into law if it passes the full House.

SB 30 is sponsored by state Sen. David Sokola (D-Newark North).

House lawmakers will also discuss a variety of amendments when they take up the legislation, including an amendment that would allow unmarried heterosexuals to apply for civil union status, and another that would stress that a civil union is not the legal equivalent of a marriage. 

House Minority Leader Rep. Greg Lavelle (R-Sharpley) says he believes the bill is a prelude to a bill that would fully legalize same-sex “marriage.”

“If we’re assured that it’s not the intent to have [same-sex] marriage, then it’s ‘no harm, no foul’ to clarify that in the actual body of the bill,” Lavelle said, according to the Denver Post. “If this bill passes, I would be shocked if we didn’t have a marriage bill introduced in the next two to five years.”

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