Del. Rolls out Same-Sex Marriage Proposal - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Rolls out Same-Sex Marriage Proposal

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DOVER, Del.- Delaware lawmakers are ready to discuss legalizing same-sex marriage in the First State following an event Thursday to show support of the proposed bill.

If the bill gets approval, Delaware would be the 10th state - along with the District of Columbia- to legalize same-sex marriages.

It is a controversial topic, but it has a lot of support from the state's top brass. The governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, speaker of the house, senate president pro tem were among the officials at the event. And they're all prepared to put their weight behind passing this bill.

More than 100 people filled Freedom Plaza in Wilmington, including Bob Hoffer and Max Dick. They've been together for three decades and moved to Rehoboth Beach in 2009. The couple actually married in New York, but Delaware currently only recognizes them as having a civil union.

"We want to have the same ability to be married here in Delaware and have that count as a true reflection of our commitment to each other," Dick said.

The bill would start allowing marriages on July 1. There would be a process of converting civil unions in marriages. And any unconverted would simply become marriages on July 1, 2014.

The draft of the bill does explicitly say any and all members of the clergy of any religion who do not feel same-sex marriage fits with their beliefs do not have to perform the ceremonies.

Gov. Jack Markell pledged his support for the bill.

"When the legislature, when the House and Senate, passes this bill, I will sign it," he said.

House Speaker Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth, spoke as well, and recognized he was the only downstate legislator on the stage.

"I'll probably be the only vote for the bill in Sussex County. Sussex is a very conservative county. I happen to live on the east side of the county in a more progressive district," he said. "This is representative democracy. The bottom line is whoever gets the most votes wins the argument."

And people at the rally are confident that will be their side.

"I'm so optimistic that it's going to happen in Delaware," Hoffer said.

"I believe this bill is going to pass," said Claire Snyder-Hall, who lives in Rehoboth but was married to her partner in California. "It's inevitable. Eventually, we'll have equality."

"We're very optimistic and glad we're here to see this develop," Dick said.

The bill has already been scheduled for a hearing in house committee on Wednesday.

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