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Delaware House Approves Marriage Equality

By Michelle Garcia

Delaware's House of Representatives approved a bill to establish legal marriage rights for the state's same-sex couples with a 23-18 vote Tuesday.

The bill, which was introduced less than two weeks ago, will go to the Senate for a vote before heading to the desk of Gov. Jack Markell, who has said he would sign such a bill into law.

The state has extended civil unions rights to all same-sex couples since 2011. The legislative procedure to make marriages legal for Delaware's same-sex couples is relatively simple. Current law restricts marriage to two people of the opposite gender, but there is no constitutional ban on marriage equality. The proposed legislation will revise the statute language to establish marriage equality. With a strong Democratic base of voters, Democratic control of both the House and Senate, and Markell's endorsement, equality supporters don't anticipate a drawn-out fight.

The news comes as Rhode Island is also now poised to approve marriage equality, as the state Senate there is gearing up to vote on a similar bill this week.

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