April 26, 2013 at 11:53 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Delaware Senate committee schedules hearing on 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)

A Delaware Senate committee on Wednesday will hold a hearing on a bill that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in the First State.

The Senate Executive Committee will hear testimony on House Bill 75 a week after the state House of Representatives approved it by a 23-18 vote margin.

Senate President Pro Tempore Patricia Blevins (D-Elsmere,) who chairs the committee, is among the measure’s 23 co-sponsors. She joined Gov. Jack Markell, Attorney General Beau Biden and other same-sex marriage supporters at the Wilmington press conference at which state Rep. Melanie George Smith (D-Bear) announced HB 75’s formal introduction on April 11.

“The marriage equality bill filed today will allow loving and committed same-sex couples the freedom to marry the person they love just like the rest of us,” Blevins said. “We say to gay and lesbian couples that their love and their families are worthy of the same dignity and respect as all of our families.”

Senate Minority Whip Gregory Lavelle (R-Sharpley) and state Sens. Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington,) David McBride (D-Hawk’s Nest,) Harris McDowell (D-Wilmington) and Gary Simpson (R-Milford) are the committee’s other members.

Neighboring Maryland is among the nine states and D.C. in which same-sex couples can legally marry.

The Rhode Island Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry. The measure is expected to receive final approval on Thursday — and Gov. Lincoln Chafee has said he will sign it into law.

Equality Delaware President Lisa Goodman told the Washington Blade she remains confident about HB 75’s prospects.

“We believe we will have the votes to pass marriage equality in the Senate,” she said.

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

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