DOVER, Del. — Delaware Governor Jack Markell on Friday predicted marriage equality in his state is “inevitable.”
In an interview with Reuters Insider TV, Markell, a Democrat, said he expects that Delaware will take up same-sex marriage legislation “probably within the next few years.”
Markell noted that until three years ago it was legal in Delaware “to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation,” and said the state was moving towards greater acceptance of homosexuality.
Last year, Markell signed a bill legalizing same-sex civil unions, making Delaware the eighth state to allow civil unions or domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian couples.
The law took effect Jan. 1, allowing same-sex couples to enter into civil unions, giving them all of the rights, benefits, and obligations of marriage under state law, but prohibits them from obtaining marriage licenses.
Last month, Washington state become the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage; that law will take effect in June unless opponents gather enough signatures to place a repeal effort on the November ballot.
On Thursday, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed a marriage equality bill that will take effect January 2013, unless it too is overturned by a ballot referendum in November.
Currently six states — Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York — and the District of Columbia allow same-sex unions.