BREAKING: Delaware state House approves same-sex marriage bill

Staff Reports

DOVER, Del. — — The Delaware state House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

The measure, introduced less than two weeks ago, and a little more than a year after Delaware first began recognizing same-sex civil unions, was approved by a vote of 23-18 moments ago, and now heads to the state Senate.

Under the proposal, no new civil unions would be performed after July 1, and couples in civil unions could convert to marriages before July 2014 by applying for a marriage license. On July 1, 2014, all remaining civil unions not subject to dissolution, annulment or legal separation would automatically convert to marriages.

Supporters of the bill say couples in same-sex relationships deserve the same dignity and respect afforded to married couples.

Opponents argue that same-sex marriage redefines and destroys the institution, and that same-sex couples in civil unions already have all the rights and benefits under state law that married couples have.

Democratic Gov. Jack Markell has promised to sign the bill if it passes the Democrat-controlled General Assembly.

Developing story, check back for updates.

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