Gay marriage coming to Delaware?

    For his commentary this week Rob Tornoe looks at comments made by the Huffington Post on the state of gay marriage in Delaware after the 2012 elections.  You can also catch Rob on ‘First’ on WHYY-TV this weekend.

    Here is Rob’s commentary:

     Is Jack Markell trying to drive more business to local Chick-fil-A stores in Delaware?

    This week, Markell told the Huffington Post that he expects the state legislature to work on making marriage equality the law in Delaware next session. It was just last year that Delaware legalized civil unions, so the pace that this issue has moved forward is somewhat remarkable, and I give the Governor credit for showing real leadership on the issue (something I criticized him for in the lead-up to civil unions).

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    I also appreciate that he has the guts to push for it through the legislature, and not put it to a referendum and see it fail, like so many other states have. Gay marriage is a civil rights issue, and as such it shouldn’t be left up to the majority to decide.

    Naturally, chicken sandwich chomping knuckle-draggers opposed to gay marriage will peddle out all the usual lines in the interim – that it’s not the Bible’s version of “traditional” marriage, that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because they can’t procreate, that no family can compete with the interior decorating panache of a gay couple.

    And on, and on, and on.

    President Obama repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which allows openly-gay individuals to serve in the military. Has it decreased our security? Are we suddenly at more of a risk of a terrible attack because gay soldiers are working side-by-side with straight ones?

    Gay marriage has been legal in Massachusetts since 2004. I haven’t been up that way in about a year, but last time I checked the state hasn’t decayed into a wasteland of moral decay.

    Mitt Romney was governor when the state’s highest court ruled that gays had the legal right to marry. Romney had campaigned on a pledge to defend and expand the rights of gay people in the state, yet when the court ruled in their favor, Romney did everything he could to try and block the ruling. He even resurrected a 90-year-old state law aimed at preventing interracial marriage in an attempt to prevent same-sex couples from coming to Massachusetts for weddings.

    Why? Politics. The same reason Governor Chris Christie vetoed legislation in New Jersey to allow gay couples to tie the knot. Romney used the issue to pivot to the right and boost his conservative street cred leading up to his presidential run in 2008.

    The fact is Republicans have milked the “gay” issue for so long, they’re afraid once it becomes legal and commonplace for gay people to get married, conservative voters will realize that it won’t destroy society, and learn to accept it. They may tell you it’s all about the Bible and the so-called “tradition” of marriage (which includes stoning women for not being virgins), but really, it’s all just simply politics to them.

    I mean, they’ll still have illegal immigration, gun control and abortion to fear monger voters into supporting them, but one by one these social issues are coming off the table as people realize they’re just not important enough to get worked up over.

    Who knows – they might even start caring about real issues for a change.


    Rob Tornoe is a political cartoonist and a WHYY contributor. See more of his work at, and follow him on twitter @RobTornoe.

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