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Delaware Passes Marriage Equality, Lesbian Senator Comes Out in the Process!

Delaware Passes Marriage Equality, Lesbian Senator Comes Out in the Process!

The Delaware state senate passed its marriage equality bill Tuesday afternoon with a 12-9 vote. The legislation, which already passed in the house, will head to Gov. Jack Markell, who has said he would sign the bill into law if it reached his desk, allowing gay and lesbian couples to start marrying on July 1.

The Delaware state senate passed its marriage equality bill Tuesday afternoon with a 12-9 vote. The legislation, which already passed in the house, will head to Gov. Jack Markell, who has said he would sign the bill into law if it reached his desk, allowing gay and lesbian couples to start marrying on July 1.

The new law repeals the ban on marriages for same-sex couples that was approved in 1996. HB75 passed after a lengthy floor debate, which included testimony from senators, religious leaders, and others who oppose marriage equality and homosexuality. A motion to table the bill all together failed, 9-12.

Sen. Robert Venables used the Queen James Bible—a take on the King James Bible that aims to share a less homophobic version of biblical events—as an example of how LGBT activists have been able to change the conversation on gay rights, which he believes has happened too hastily. Another witness cited a study by professor Mark Regnerus on the negative affects of gay parents, which has been debunked since its release. An attorney from the conservative Alliance Defense Fund also testified before the senate, warning that businesses that do not want to accommodate gay couples could face legal trouble.

In the process of making Delaware the 11th state, plus the District of Columbia, with legal marriage equality, Sen. Karen Peterson came out as a lesbian, telling her colleagues, "If my happiness somehow demeans or diminishes your marriage, you need to work on your marriage."

Peterson mentioned her partner of 24 years, Vicki. They entered a civil union, which were officially established in January 2012.

Delaware-issued civil unions will automatically be converted to marriages on July 1, 2014, Pam's House Blend reports.

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Michelle Garcia