Delaware Senator Chris Coons is backing an effort to legalize gay marriage in Delaware.

Coons was among the 150 people who attended a town hall style meeting on the issue organized by Equality Delaware, the group which won passage of the state's civil unions law in 2011. A second meeting is scheduled for Thursday night at CAMP Rehoboth in Rehoboth Beach.

The group's president, Lisa Goodman, earlier told The News Journal that she believes the time is right for marriage.

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

Coons called the upcoming push a “really exciting next chapter in Delaware's steady march to equality.”

“It's time,” he said. “It's long past time.”