Civil union bill headed to Senate

Legislation that would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions could be up for a vote by the Delaware Senate next week.

The Senate Administrative Services and Elections Committee released the bill Wednesday after about two hours of debate in Dover.

If approved, couples joined in civil unions would enjoy many of the same legal protections and privileges as straight couples.

“It’s important because of all the families that are made up of same-sex couples in Delaware that currently don’t have the legal protections for the most basic of things,” said Lisa Goodman, President of Equality Delaware, which has been lobbying for the bill. “For taking care of your partner, for protecting your children, for preserving your parental rights. It’s important for all of those things.”

The bill would give civil union status to people who come to Delaware from other states under civil unions, domestic partnership arrangements or same sex marriages.

“If they love each other,” said bill sponsor David Sokola (D-Newark),”who are we in government to tell them they can’t love each other and can’t have certain key rights and responsibilities.”

Goodman says she feels good about the bill’s chances.

“We’re very optimistic,” she said. “We think we have the votes and we think ultimately it’s going to become law.”

Gov. Jack Markell has said he supports the bill in its current form.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.