The Delaware Senate is expected to
consider on Thursday a bill that would give gay and lesbian couples
many of the benefits of marriage.
Democratic Senator Dave Sokola's civil
unions bill will be on the Senate floor after 2PM.
The measure cleared the six member
Senate Administrations and Elections Committee with the support its
four Democratic members on March 30 after members heard two hours'
worth of testimony.
At the hearing, Nicole Theis, executive
director of the conservative group Delaware Family Policy Council,
said her group opposes the bill because it is a “dishonest”
attempt to legalize gay marriage in Delaware.
“Our position is that this debate has
nothing to do with civil rights, we all have the same freedom to
marry a member of the opposite sex,” Theis told lawmakers.
“Marriage is about bringing male and female together, and that is
good. Same-sex marriage redefines marriage, saying that men and
women are optional for the family.”
The gay rights group Equality Delaware
(EQDE) helped lawmakers draft the legislation. Its president
countered that civil unions were not marriage.
“It's not about religion, it's not
about procreation, it's not about some private purpose; this bill is
about fairness and equality. This is a moderate bill based on what
already exists in Delaware law to provide some but not all of the
rights and protections that opposite sex couples enjoy.”
At an outdoor event to introduce the
measure, Democratic Governor Jack Markell told the crowd that he
looked forward to signing the bill into law.
Democrats control both chambers of the