U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and an active supporter of Equality Delaware, issued the following statement Tuesday after the Delaware Senate voted to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. HB 75, the Civil Marriage Equality and Religious Freedom Act of 2013, ensures that same-sex married couples have the same protections and obligations as opposite-sex married couples.
"This is a truly historic day for our state," Senator Coons said. "Today's vote was about dignity, respect, and basic human fairness for our neighbors. Every Delawarean deserves access to the full rights and responsibilities of marriage, no matter their sexual orientation. The passage of HB 75 ushers in a new era of equality in our state and marks an important moment in our state's history. I am incredibly proud.
"Lisa Goodman, Mark Purpura, Erik Raser-Schramm, and everyone who worked and volunteered at Equality Delaware have my heart-filled congratulations," Senator Coons continued. "The lawmakers who stood up for the freedom to marry for the first time today -- some breaking with their party; others breaking with their previous politics -- have my sincere thanks. It is because of that bold leadership that when Governor Markell signs this legislation tonight, Delaware will become the 11th state to offer marriage equality to all of its citizens, and it will do so without infringing on the religious liberties of a single Delawarean."
Senator Coons is a strong supporter of civil rights and LGBT equality. He is a cosponsor of the Student Non-Discrimination Act, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Uniting American Families Act, Domestic Partnership Benefits & Obligations Act, Tax Parity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act, the Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act, and the legislation that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.
The Senator has been an active supporter of Equality Delaware. In addition to rallying supporters using his email list, publishing op-eds, and recording video messages in support of the campaign, Senator Coons reached out directly to state lawmakers to urge their support.