its approval in the Delaware Senate last week, a bill that would
give gay and lesbian couples many of the legal protections of
marriage moves to a House panel on Wednesday.
Democratic Senator Dave Sokola's civil
unions bill cleared the Senate with a comfortable 13 to 6 vote on
Thursday. (2 members were absent.)
The Democrat-controlled, 5-member House
Administration Committee chaired by Representative Peter C.
Schwartzkopf of Rehoboth will hold a hearing on the bill on Wednesday
starting at 2:30PM.
to Equality Delaware, the gay rights group that helped lawmakers
draft the bill, the measure is expected to arrive on the House floor
on Thursday, suggesting the group is confident the committee will
approve the measure.
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.
Three states – Illinois, Hawaii and
New Jersey – currently offer civil unions. Despite widespread
support in the state, a
GOP-controlled Colorado House committee killed a similar measure
earlier this month.
If the measure is approved by Delaware
lawmakers, it would represent the first time such a measure is
successful in its first outing.