Delaware governor looks toward the freedom to marry in the state

Marriage advocates in Delaware may be looking toward 2013 as a game-changing year for the freedom to marry in the state. Following up on his statement from March that a law granting same-sex couples the freedom to marry in Delaware is "inevitable," Delaware Gov. Jack Markell told The Huffington Post that the state legislature in Delaware would likely be taking up the issue soon - "probably within the next few years." Gov. Markell supports the freedom to marry and has been a helpful advocate in the past.  

Same-sex couples in Delaware have been permitted to join together in civil unions since January 1, 2012, when the civil union law that Gov. Markell signed on May 11, 2011 took effect. The civil union law represents a step forward for Delaware, as it affords same-sex couples some - but not all - of the rights and protections that marriage affords. Delaware's state constitution does not have an amendment banning the freedom to marry, meaning that the state legislature could independently implement the law. 

Markell told The Huffington Post that he was willing to step up on the freedom to marry and push the state legislature to consider and accept it. The Huffington Post reports

Democratic governors in Maryland and New York, two states that recently signed marriage equality into law, took the lead on shepherding the bill through the legislative process and making it a key priority. (The law is not in effect in Maryland yet, pending the outcome of a November ballot referendum.)

Markell said he was willing to play a similar role in Delaware, although he said the real leadership will come from LGBT groups.

"I think it's always important to have gubernatorial leadership, but the other thing it's very helpful to have - the real hero of getting civil unions done [in the state] - was not me," he said. "The real hero and heroine were a couple of people who led a group called Equality Delaware."

Freedom to Marry applauds Gov. Markell's leadership and looks forward to the day when same-sex couples in Delaware - and across the country - can have the freedom to marry the person they love. Read more about Delaware's movement on a marriage law here