A little over two years ago, almost everyone said it was crazy to think Delaware was ready for marriage equality, but the team of citizens at Delaware Right to Marry set to work anyway. With Netroots help in January 2011, we raised the money to conduct a poll which confirmed that Delawareans were in line with the national numbers that were just starting to show plurality and then majority support for same-gender marriage. Everything has developed rapidly since then here, as it has nationwide. Check out this news from yesterday in Delaware's News Journal. Jonathan Starkey reports:
The lawmaker who's expected to become Delaware's next House Speaker says a marriage equality bill is likely to come before the General Assembly in 2013 - and says he'll vote for it. Pete Schwartzkopf, a Democrat from Rehoboth Beach, whose district includes a large gay population, said Tuesday that legalizing gay marriage is a "no-brainer," especially considering his district's demographics, and "the right thing to do."This is truly exciting news, following up on Gov. Jack Markell's similar comments in August to the Huffington Post. So we've got the governor and the likely house speaker lined up, and the likely Senate leadership candidates are all solid pro-equality legislators. It's a scenario we've worked hard to get to over the past few years, but there's a long way to go before the 2013 session starts up in January.
Unfortunately our radical opponents at our local "family" "values" organization are pulling out all the stops to defeat any candidate who even thinks of supporting equality in a competitive district. It's one of the most hateful, divisive campaigns Delaware has seen in years, and it follows the national playbook right down to the open race-baiting. Here's a sample of the false wedge politics they pushed to their supporters after Primary Day while celebrating the defeat of several pro-equality candidates:
"The race highlighted a growing divide in the Democrat party between homosexual activists on one side, and a coalition of unions and African-Americans on the other. While the Democrat party sided with homosexual activists ... the coalition of labor and African-American leaders overcame the party..."That's unacceptable, ugly, and untrue. And it won't work here. Delaware Right to Marry has mobilized more than ten thousand supporters of marriage equality across the spectrum: gay, straight, male, female, White, African-American, Latino, and beyond. It's the biggest citizen campaign in the state since 1933.
Delaware is one of the few states in the nation that doesn't have ballot initiatives. This will be decided by the legislature. We're not officially on the ballot this year like Maryland, Maine, Washington, or Minnesota, but because we don't have referenda, the chances of passage in 2013 depend on the results this November. We're working to help a handful of pro-equality candidates in key districts win their tough races in November.
We are absolutely counting on ordinary citizens in Delaware and beyond to help us deliver a pro-equality House and Senate in Delaware this November so Rep. Schwartzkopf and Gov. Markell can end marriage discrimination next year.
Any support you can provide, large or small is deeply appreciated. I'm working full time, pro bono on this effort, and I can assure you the money will be going straight into things like targeted voter education pieces where it will have the highest impact. Delaware is a low-budget state for politics, so it's not a multi-million dollar campaign like the other (very important!) states. Every state moves the whole country forward so Delaware will be a huge return on investment.
Just forty days to go!
Delaware Right to Marry PAC