Unions join Delaware marriage equality push
February 19, 2013By Mark Eichmann
Equality Delaware's big push for gay marriage in Delaware is getting support from the state's three major labor unions representing more than 40,000 workers.
The Delaware State AFL-CIO, The Delaware Building and Construction Trades Council and the Delaware Public Employees Council 81-AFSCME have all voted to support a marriage equality bill when it's introduced in the General Assembly. AFSCME Executive Director Michael Begatto called on state lawmakers to pass a bill this year. "We represent all working families, not just some families. We believe all Delawareans should be treated fairly, including to have the freedom to marry the person they love."
Equality Delaware's Lisa Goodman says a bill approving marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples is expected to be introduced in the General Assembly in its current session. "This type of support makes it clearer every day that this is the year for marriage equality in Delaware."
Civil unions between same sex couples were approved by the General Assembly in 2011 and were first performed in the state starting in January 2012. When the civil union law was being debated in Dover, opponents claimed that the civil union effort was just a precursor to getting gay marriage approved. Part of their argument against gay marriage is the belief that marriage between a man and a woman is the proper environment for raising children.
Governor Markell hinted at his support for gay marriage in his inaugural address and in the State of the State Address, he called for a "Delaware that protects the rights of all its citizens, no matter who they love."
Delaware Democratic Senator Chris Coons says the state is "poised to make history" on the issue. In a video address to attendees of the Human Rights Campaign's Gala in Philadelphia Saturday, Coons told the group, "We want to be the tenth state- the eleventh if you include the District of Columbia- to show the basic human decency that comes with offering full marriage equality to our citizens." Coons urged attendees to join the effort in Delaware.
You can see Senator Coons' comments below.