Gay marriage supporters in Delaware believe lawmakers will approve a marriage law this year.

Lisa Goodman, president of Equality Delaware, the group which won passage of the state's civil unions law in 2011, told The News Journal that the time was right for marriage.

“We believe 2013 is the right time for marriage [equality] in Delaware,” Goodman said.

Delaware is among a handful of states expected to debate the issue this year. All of the states considering expanding marriage rights, with the exception of Minnesota, currently recognize gay and lesbian couples with civil unions. Included are Illinois, Rhode Island, Hawaii and New Jersey. Colorado is expected to approve civil unions, while Wyoming is considering domestic partnerships.

Nicole Theis of the Delaware Family Policy Council, which opposed passage of the civil unions law, said the aim of civil unions proponents was always marriage.

“The Delaware civil unions law is the most comprehensive in the nation,” she said. “It's literally identical to the Delaware marriage law.”

“But the goal here was never civil unions. It has always been to redefine marriage. We completely expected this would happen.”

“Those who want to redefine [marriage] want government to define what marriage is,” Theis added. “Then, in order for marriage to be equal it needs to be genderless. And genderless marriage automatically deprives a child of a loving mother or father and says either a mother or father is disposable in a child's life.”

Democratic Governor Jack Markell has publicly supported marriage equality.

Equality Delaware will hold its first meeting on the issue Wednesday night at First Central Presbyterian Church in Wilmington.