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Seven Delaware senators to vote against marriage bill

Nine state senators have thus far publicly backed HB 75



Gay News, Washington Blade, Gay Marriage, Delaware

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.

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  1. Javier

    May 3, 2013 at 9:41 am

    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:

    [email protected] or 302-744-4197 or 302-577-8517
    [email protected] or 302-744-4286

    • billywinartenson

      May 6, 2013 at 6:12 pm

      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.

  2. Anonymous

    May 3, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    ….so 7 Republicans are caught in the last century……what else is new?

    • Joe L Cascio

      May 8, 2013 at 11:25 am

      bigotry not- marriage is between a man and a woman- those who dissagree are the biggots

    • Ken Paul

      May 27, 2013 at 1:42 am

      Joe L Cascio Speak for yourself. .Everyone in America still don't believe your perverted ways.. Watch a male dog and see if he will mate with another male dog ,,No animals know more than people …They've got it right ..

    • Ken Paul

      May 27, 2013 at 1:56 am

      Joe L Cascio Go back where you came from Joe ! stop trying to be like dogs …even dogs know the difference between male and female ..but queers are to dumb to know the difference

  3. Kay Alessio-Pieters

    May 3, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Come on Delaware, don't miss this chance to vote for civil rights! Let's end bigotry !

  4. Anonymous

    May 5, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    ….must be part of the "new dawn" of appeal that the GOP claims it is putting forth for the next election! To the 7 GOP Senators, I say your right wing and evangelical outlook will put you in the dustbin of social history…….where you belong!

    • Ken Paul

      May 27, 2013 at 1:45 am

      At least they believe in something ,,, all queers need to realize that all people are not peverts !

  5. anonymous

    May 6, 2013 at 10:14 am

    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

      May 6, 2013 at 6:26 pm

      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.

  6. Skeeter Sanders

    May 6, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    No surprise that the seven Delaware state senators who declared their opposition to the marriage equality bill are all Republicans. The GOP is digging its own political grave — and it's too wrapped up in its right-wing ideology to realize it.

  7. Bill-Juanita Murray

    May 7, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    God established a covenant relationship between a man and a woman. We believe we should keep it that way.

    • Michael Mariano

      May 7, 2013 at 4:37 pm

      Talking about Marriage or Holy Matrimony?

    • Bob Kennedy

      May 8, 2013 at 4:28 am

      Every one does not belive what you belive, there are other religions and beielfs systems. Your religion will never stop people from loving who they fall in love with, so what your doing is hurting those who are not allowed to marry, this is about legal rights as it is about love.

  8. Bob Kennedy

    May 8, 2013 at 4:27 am

    Lets in bigotry……Gay folks are not hurting anyone by loving who they love and wish to marry. I promise you the sun will come out the next day, the birds will still sing, no one will turn into a toad and the rainbows will still happen after a good rain, so let people love who they wish too.

    • Ken

      May 26, 2013 at 9:53 pm

      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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D.C. police seek help in finding missing gay man

Rick Woods last seen in Georgetown on July 14



Richard G. ‘Rick’ Woods, 65, was last seen in the 1600 block of Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., in Georgetown on July 14.

D.C. police have issued an announcement asking the public for help in finding Richard G. ‘Rick’ Woods, 65, who was last seen in the 1600 block of Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., in Georgetown on July 14.

Friends who know Woods, who is gay, say he has operated for many years an antique wood furniture restoration business at various locations in D.C. The most recent location of his business, according to an online listing, has been at 1408 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., a short distance from where he was last seen. 

The police announcement says Woods was reported missing to police on Friday, July 23, but the announcement doesn’t identify the person who reported him missing.

 “Richard G. Woods is described as a white male, 6’O” tall, 210 pounds, with brown and gray hair and brown eyes,” the police announcement says. “His clothing description is unknown,” according to the announcement.

The announcement says the case is being investigated by the department’s Youth and Family Services Division. Anyone with information about Woods’ whereabouts is asked to call the division at 202-576-6768 or to call the police Command Center at 202-727-9099. 

“Rick is known by many in our community,” said John Fanning, a Logan Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and longtime local LGBTQ rights advocate. “He’s owned an antique wood restoration business for years,” according to Fanning, who said he and others who know Woods are hopeful that he will be found soon and unharmed. 

A D.C. police spokesperson said the police incident report for the Woods missing person case wasn’t immediately available.

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Two injured in gunfire outside crowded 14th Street restaurants

Witnesses say 20 shots fired near Blade, Whitman-Walker offices



Police are looking for three suspects in connection with Thursday’s shooting.

D.C. police are seeking the public’s help in identifying at least three suspects involved in a shooting in which two men were wounded shortly after 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 22, on the 1700 block of 14th Street, N.W. where the offices of the Washington Blade and Whitman-Walker Health, the LGBTQ supportive health center, are located.

The shooting occurred while dozens of people were dining at restaurants along the bustling street in the heart of the city’s Logan Circle nightlife area.

Police released a video showing two men – one wearing a white hooded sweater or sweatshirt and the other wearing a dark colored similar hooded shirt running along the street and entering the front and rear passenger doors of a black car double parked on the street that police described as an older model Honda Civic with D.C. license plates.

The video shows the car driving away at a fast speed with a third person driving the vehicle.

“Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Third District seek the public’s assistance in locating suspects and a vehicle in reference to an Assault with Intent to Kill (Gun) offense,” a statement released by D.C. police says.

“At approximately 8:20 p.m., members of the Third District heard the sounds of gunshots and responded to the listed location,” the statement says. “Upon arrival, members located two adult male victims, both conscious and breathing, suffering from gunshot wounds,” according to the statement. “DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene and transported the victims to area hospitals for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.”

The shooting incident took place at a time when many city residents and police were on edge following the fatal shooting of a 6-year-old girl on July 16 in Southeast D.C. and the firing of gunshots last Saturday outside Washington Nationals Stadium during a game, which prompted people inside the stadium, who heard the gunshots, to duck for cover.

D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee, who was accompanied by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser at a news conference at the scene of the shooting on Thursday night, said investigators believe one of the two men wounded by the gunfire was a target of the shooting. Contee said police believe the second victim was hit in the crossfire.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re doing everything we can as an entire system here in the District of Columbia to hold offenders accountable when these things happen in our community,” Contee said. “This is unacceptable. That’s the bottom line. It is totally unacceptable behavior,” he said.

“I’m asking the community to take a look at these videos,” he told reporters at the press conference. “If you know the person or the vehicle or somebody who is in that – there is one individual with a very distinctive hoody that he was wearing – please look at that very closely,” he said. “We’re asking for the community’s help.”

When asked by a reporter to comment on expressions of outrage by members of the community over the widespread outbreak of gun violence in the city, Bowser said she shares that concern.

“Well, I’m outraged. The chief is outraged. And the community should be outraged,” the mayor said. “What we saw tonight and unfortunately what we saw over the last several days is an illegal firearm brazenly used on D.C. streets,” Bowser said.

“And we know that our investigators and detectives are going to track down every lead. Our citizens have already been helpful in supplying leads and video and anything else that they saw so that we can get these individuals off the street and hold them accountable,” the mayor said.

Witnesses have said the Thursday night shooting on 14th Street reportedly occurred at the intersection of Riggs Street outside the Mexicue Restaurant, which is located at 1720 14th Street, N.W. The Blade office is located just a few doors down and Whitman-Walker’s Elizabeth Taylor building is a short distance away across the street at 14th and R Street, N.W.

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Suspect charged in murder of trans woman in PG County apartment

District Heights man apprehended in Arlington following unrelated arrest



P.G. Police charged DeAllen Davonta Price with first-degree and second-degree murder and related charges in connection with Taya Ashton’s death.

Prince George’s County, Md., Police announced on Wednesday that homicide investigators identified and filed murder charges against a 27-year-old District Heights, Md., man for the July 17 homicide of transgender woman Taya Ashton, 20, who was found shot to death in her apartment in nearby Suitland, Md.

In a statement, P.G. Police said they charged DeAllen Davonta Price of the 6400 block of Hil Mar Drive in the unincorporated area of District Heights with first-degree and second-degree murder and related charges in connection with Ashton’s death.

According to the statement, while P.G. police detectives identified Price as a suspect in the Ashton murder, Arlington County, Va. Police arrested him on July 18 on an unrelated robbery charge after he attempted to flee from Arlington and Metro Transit police inside a train tunnel at the Pentagon City Metro Station.

“With the assistance of Metro Transit Police, Prince George’s County Police detectives and a K9 officer searched those tracks and recovered a weapon that’s now been linked to Taya’s murder,” the P.G. Police statement says.

“Price remains in custody in Virginia pending extradition to Prince George’s County,” the statement says. “The motive remains under investigation,” says the statement, but it adds, “Detectives have uncovered no evidence suggesting Taya’s murder was due to her gender identity.”

The announcement by P.G. police of Price’s arrest came on the same day that family members and friends of Taya Ashton held a vigil to honor her life at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at River Terrace Park in Northeast D.C. along the banks of the Anacostia River, which is part of the neighborhood were Ashton grew up.

Veteran D.C. LGBTQ rights advocate Phil Pannell, who attended and spoke at the vigil, said that in addition to family members and friends of Ashton’s, those who spoke included Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy; D.C. Council member Trayon White (D-Ward 8), D.C. transgender rights advocate Earline Budd, and numerous community leaders in D.C. and P.G. County. Budd said more than 200 people turned out for the vigil.

At the conclusion of the vigil, many of the participants drove in a lengthy caravan of cars to the apartment building in the Suitland section of Prince George’s County, where Ashton lived and where her life ended, to further honor her.

“The nearby streets were completely filled with people coming out for Taya and her family,” Budd said.

A three-page charging document filed in Prince George’s County District Court by P.G. Police on Wednesday, July 21, provides a detailed account of how homicide detectives used cell phone records and high-tech firearm ballistics techniques to link Price to the murder.

P.G. police said homicide detectives began an intense investigation into the murder almost immediately after family members who discovered Ashton’s body at her apartment on July 17 called police. Ashton’s grandfather, Stuart Anderson, who said Taya Ashton’s status as a transgender woman was accepted by her family, told the Blade that family members who arrived at the apartment could not find any evidence of a forced entry, leading them to believe the assailant responsible for the murder may have been someone Ashton knew and invited into her home.

The charging document says that although Ashton’s phone was missing from the apartment and presumed stolen at the time her body was found, detectives obtained her phone number from family members and used it to discover through the tracing of her calls and text message records that she and Price communicated with each other by text or calls between Friday, July 16, one day prior to the murder, and at 11:42 p.m. Saturday, July 17.

“This is the last call that the Decedent makes or answers before being found deceased,” the charging document states.

According to the charging document, earlier in the evening of July 17 Ashton and a friend of hers exchanged text messages in which Ashton wrote, “My dude is on his way” which the friend understood to mean a sexual encounter was expected to take place. A short time later Ashton told her friend in a follow-up text message “that a sexual encounter occurred,” the charging document says.

“As the investigation continued, it was discovered that Defendant was arrested on 07/18/2021 at approximately 1642 hours [4:42 p.m.] by the Arlington County Police Department for a theft,” the charging document in support of Price’s arrest says.

It says that when Arlington Police initially attempted to apprehend Price, “he jumped off of a platform and ran into a subway tunnel towards the Pentagon Metro Station.” The document says he hid inside the tunnel for about two hours before being arrested after he walked out of the tunnel into the station.

At the time of his arrest, the charging document says, Price was in possession of a Gucci cross strap bag with distinct markings that Ashton’s family members reported was missing from her apartment at the time her body was found.

A short time later, P.G. County homicide investigators, who arrived on the scene, conducted a search of the train tunnel and found a black semi-automatic .40 caliber Smith and Wesson handgun, the charging document states.

It says that that a police firearm expert, after examining the gun, “was able to conclude that the fired .40 caliber cartridge casing recovered from the scene [of the murder] and the fired projectile recovered from the Decedent’s body were fired from the Smith and Wesson handgun bearing serial #HTU3274 recovered from the area the Defendant hid from police.” 

The document states that when questioned after his arrest, Price waived his Miranda rights to withhold comment and obtain representation from an attorney and acknowledged that police had obtained access to his correct cell phone number.

“He also admitted to being sexually intimate with the Decedent and stated that he has known the Decedent for approximately three months,” the charging document continues. “He then admitted to being at the Decedent’s apartment the night of the murder and being sexually intimate with the Decedent that night,” it says.

“Based on the aforementioned facts, the evidence indicates that the Defendant is responsible for shooting and killing the Decedent,” the document concludes. The document does not state whether detectives asked Price whether he committed the murder or whether or not he admitted or denied fatally shooting Taya Ashton.

An arrest warrant that accompanies the charging document says that in addition to being charged with first-degree and second-degree murder, police charged Price with Assault-First Degree; Firearm Use/Felony Crime of Violence; Assault-Second Degree; Handgun on Person; and Loaded Handgun on Person.

Court records show that Price had been arrested in Virginia and Maryland several times prior to his latest arrests beginning in 2012 on charges that include illegal possession of a firearm, armed robbery, misdemeanor theft, and grand larceny.

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