The Delaware Senate just passed a same-sex marriage bill into law, making “the First State” the eleventh to extend marriage to same-sex couples. As expected, the vote was close, 12-9.
Governor Jack Markell fully supports the bill and will sign it.
— Gov. Jack Markell (@GovernorMarkell) May 7, 2013
Arguments against the bill were the same that have been made at every legislative debate that ended in passage of marriage equality. Polygamy, polyamory, and the “law of unintended consequences,” were some argument against the bill, as were false claims about damage to the public education system, damage to children, and the usual claims that same-sex marriage will cause florists and photographers to be sued. (In fact, the laws that provide for these cases are anti-discrimination laws that far pre-date marriage laws.)
— Equality Delaware (@EQDE) May 7, 2013
Anti-gay arguments were predominately offered by several Republican Senators, including Robert Venables, 80, who argued that Delaware’s civil unions bill should have been sufficient for “them,” even though he voted against that bill. Venables, having made as many anti-gay arguments, resorted to holding up a copy of a book called the “Queen James Bible” that he said was written by “homosexuals” who just wanted to feel better about themselves.
“What really they want is for them to feel comfortable in their lifestyle,” Venables told the chamber, saying the book was an example of “just how far these people will go in feeling normal.”
Senator Venables also said, “I think this is carrying it too far… love should not be the only criteria” for marriage, as he called for “responsibility,” apparently by gay men who are married to women but want to marry a man they love.
By contrast, Senator Harris McDowell stood up for civil rights and equality, chastising an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) for perverting the idea of civil rights. ” I am offended by your reasoning,” McDowell told Jordan Lorence, adding that the idea of civil rights is not to protect people who want to “have hate in their hearts.”
“We can’t stop ill feelings in someone’s heart, but we can ensure it’s not carried out in public policy,” McDowell noted, adding, “You can’t select who belongs in the public. In America, we all belong there.”
Father Leonard Klein of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, testified, admitting he was citing the wholly-debunked anti-gay “study” by Mark Regnerus.
Pastor Betters of the Glasgow Church in Bear, Delaware delivered lengthy testimony including calling homosexuality a behavioral choice, and relayed the “vitriol” he experienced after posting this sign on his church.
— Cap’m Zafo Z. Jones (@zafojones) May 7, 2013
Curiously, NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, reportedly wrote off Delaware.
“National Organization for Marriage has apparently expected to lose the marriage equality debate in Delaware all along, since it has done little in the state to oppose passage of the bill,” wrote Laurel Ramseyer at Pam’s House Blend. Ramseyer notes that NOM is still fundraising off the Delaware battle, but has invested little funds.
Image by Jarred Hill via Twitter
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