In keeping with their leftward swing in recent years, Delaware is now seriously considering pushing for gay marriage. Thursday, April 11th, 2013, the state leadership gathered in Wilmington to announce legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage. In order to do so, the legislation needs to alter an existing state statute that prohibits marriage between “people of the same gender.”
This push is in keeping with the current political climate of the state. Delaware has always been fairly moderate, so as the GOP has gotten more and more conservative, they have stayed resolutely middle-of-the-road. Since the 2008 election cycle (Obama/Biden Pt. I) the state as been completely controlled by Democrats, and the current state house has 26 Democrats to 15 Republicans. Governor Jack Markell has also been in support of gay marriage for years, and said he will sign the bill if it passes. The law would take effect July 1.
Why does this matter? If Delaware can pass legislation legalizing same-sex marriage, it will be the 10th state to do so. As the Supreme Court considers the Defense of Marriage Act and the implications of California’s Proposition 8, hitting double digits in the state count in support of same-sex marriage is a strike on the side of a the changing tide of public opinion. It might help to convince liberal justices that striking down DOMA will be met with less vitriol than they had previously thought.
It’s also a big deal for Delaware, a state that is, historically, hard-line moderate. If a state like Delaware can legalize same-sex marriage it’s a symbol to the rest of the country that marriage equality really is gaining ground and is here to stay.
Written by Samantha Jaffe
Photo courtesy of Equality Delaware