The Delaware Legislature will debate a bill that offers gay and lesbian couples many of the benefits and responsibilities of marriage.

According to WBOC TV, lawmakers will introduce legislation to legalize civil unions in March.

Helping draft the measure is gay rights group Equality Delaware.

“It's important because we have a large contingency of older gay couples who are going to start facing real problems as they start to age with inheritance issues, with pension issues and the ability to live with a partner in a nursing home,” said Equality Delaware President Lisa Goodman.

Goodman added that clergy would not be forced to bless gay and lesbian unions.

A narrow majority (50%) of Delaware adults support giving gay couples the right to marry, according to polling data released by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

If approved, Delaware would join New Jersey, Illinois and Hawaii in offering the union. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a civil unions bill into law last month and Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie has pledged to sign a similar measure approved by lawmakers last week. Colorado will also take up the issue.