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.