May 3, 2013 at 8:59 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Seven Delaware senators to vote against marriage bill

Patricia Blevins, Equality Delaware, Delaware, gay news, Washington Blade, gay marriage, same sex marriage, marriage equality, HB 75, marriage equality

Delaware Senate President Pro Tempore Patricia Blevins (Washington BLade photo by Michael Key)

The Washington Blade has learned seven of the 12 Delaware state senators who had previously not stated their position on the state’s same-sex marriage bill plan to vote against it next week.

Aides for Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson (R-Milford,) Senate Minority Whip Gregory Lavelle (R-Sharpley) and state Sens. Colin Bonini (R-Dover,) Gerald Hocker (R-Ocean View,) David Lawson (R-Marydel,) Ernie Lopez (R-Lewes) and Brian Pettyjohn (R-Georgetown) said on Thursday the lawmakers will vote against House Bill 75 when the state Senate considers the measure on May 7.

State Sen. Catherine Cloutier (R-Heatherbrooke) remains undecided.

State Sens. Bruce Ennis (D-Smyrna,) Bethany Hall-Long (D-Middletown,) Robert Marshall (D-Wilmington) and Robert Venables (D-Laurel) did not return the Blade’s requests for comment. Hall-Long and Marshall voted for the civil unions bill that Gov. Jack Markell signed into law in 2011, while Ennis and Venables opposed it.

Senate President Pro Tempore Patricia Blevins (D-Elsmere) co-sponsored HB 75 alongside state Sens. Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington,) Harris McDowell (D-Wilmington,) Nicole Poore (D-New Castle,) David Sokola (D-Newark,) Bryan Townsend (D-Newark) and Karen Peterson (D-Stanton.) Senate Majority Leader David McBride (D-Hawk’s Nest) and state Sen. Brian Bushweller (D-Dover) have also publicly backed the bill.

Eleven of Delaware’s 21 senators need to vote for HB 75 in order for it to pass.

“I consider same-sex marriage to be an important step towards equal justice under the law in Delaware and in the United States of America,” Sokola said on Wednesday before the Senate Executive Committee advanced it by a 4-2 vote margin.

Lieutenant Gov. Matt Denn, who supports marriage rights for same-sex couples, would cast the deciding vote in the Senate if the outcome is a tie.

Equality Delaware President Lisa Goodman on Thursday reiterated to the Blade she remains optimistic HB 75 will pass.

“I am confident we will have the votes to pass marriage equality in Delaware,” she said.

Neighboring Maryland is among the nine states and D.C. that currently allow same-sex marriage.

The Delaware Senate vote on HB 75 is scheduled to take place five days after Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed his state’s same-sex marriage bill into law.

Markell has said he will sign HB 75 into law if lawmakers approve it.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

  • Javier

    According to DE Liberal, there are ten votes in support, with one more vote needed. The latest whip count on HB75 in the Delaware State Senate has the marriage equality bill’s fate still very much in doubt, with 10 (Democratic) Senators labeled as YES votes and 9 Senators (7 Republicans and 2 Democrats) labeled as No votes on HB 75. Democrats Venables and Ennis are voting no. There are two undecided (or publicly unknown) Senators: Bethany Hall-Long (D-Newark) and Catherine Cloutier (R-Heatherbrooke). You can contact them at: or 302-744-4197 or 302-577-8517 or 302-744-4286

    • billywinartenson

      And the lt gov ca vote if it is a tie, he’s for it. Sounds like it will pass , just barely.

      BTW the4 Catholic diocese of Wilmington declared bankruptcy a couple years ago due to its unmarried priests trying to act married with the kiddies

      see [[URL REMOVED]] And note all the

      other bankruptcies of this morally bankrupt church.

      Stalin who went to a Russian orthodox seminary in his youth would be proud of the republicans

      Guess what he did to gays in the old soviet union.

  • anonymous

    the founders of the constitution got it right the first time. our constitution of america is what made this country great.. lets uphold.all those who fought & died & the principles that made this country prosper.the american way! otherwise with the decline of these things we will see the decline of america its prosperity, safety & freedom ! Delaware we may be talking about marriage but we have to look at the further affects of our decisions. History proves it & we are already feeling the affects of in our country,

    • billywinartenson

      Example of the effects

      MA was the first state to legalize gays marrying .It has the lowest divorce rate in the country
      [[URL REMOVED]]

      “anon” needs to stop fantasizing

      Gays marring supports the institution of marriage which if anyone is wrecking it its the str8 people.

    • Ken

      Gays do not enough common sense to make statement about real people.. Even dogs know the difference between male and female…If America becomes a gay nation then in a few years human life will be a thing of the past What can two men produce? You got it a big TIRD…..

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