Situation: Delaware

Ban Gay Marriage? Ban Gay Discrimination? Both?


Thirty states have a constitutional amendment on the books defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. If some folks in Delaware have their way, it’ll soon be 31.

While Delaware’s constitution doesn’t say it, state law defines marriage as an opposite-sex only coupling. And gay couples aren’t even entitled to second-class civil union status there. Which makes efforts by some legislators to get the State Assembly and Senate to amend the constitution a frightening scenario.

And it’s underway right now.

It’s Senate Bill 27, being debated today, which would amend the Delaware constitution to declare only marriages between one woman and one man be legal — and the only marriages that would be recognized in Delaware, meaning a a gay coupled legally married in Connecticut would have no status if they drove a few hours south.

But there’s also hope for good gay news. In the State Assembly today, the House Administration Committee is looking at House Bill 5, which seeks to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in housing, employment, public works contracting, public accommodations, and insurance.

But as Delaware’s News-Journal explains, “Laurel Democrat Sen. Robert L. Venables Sr. faces a more difficult battle getting his SB 27 through both chambers. As a constitutional amendment, it requires a three-fifths vote in both chambers, not only this session but in the legislative session that begins in January 2011.”