DOVER, Dela. – The House voted 23-18 today to approve a marriage-equality bill.
The bill, HB 75, will be considered next by the state Senate. Both the Senate and the House are controlled by Democrats. Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat, proposed the bill and promised to sign it into law if passed.
Gay-rights advocates and allies are optimistic that there are enough votes for passage.
“The history-making vote in the House represents just how ready for marriage equality Delaware is,” said Lisa Goodman, Equality Delaware president. “Constituents from up and down the state are reaching out to their lawmakers to express their support for treating everyone equally under the law. And legislators are hearing that message, from both Democrats and Republicans, loud and clear."
Delaware legalized same-sex civil unions in 2011, and that law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2012.
Same-sex marriage is legal in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France (this summer), Iceland, the Netherlands (and the Caribbean island of Saba), New Zealand (August 2013), Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay (this summer).
In Mexico, same-sex marriage is available in the Federal District (Mexico City) and in the states of Oaxaca and Quintana Roo. The marriages are recognized nationwide by Supreme Court order.
In Brazil, same-sex marriage is legal in the states of Alagoas, Bahia and São Paulo. Elsewhere in Brazil, same-sex couples can enter into a "stable union" then go before a judge and convert the union into a full marriage.
In the United States, same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Washington -- and in Washington, D.C. It also is legal within the Coquille Indian tribe in Oregon, the Suquamish Indian tribe in Washington state and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan.