WASHINGTON – A year ago, when Vice President Joe Biden revealed in a television interview that he supported same-sex marriage, such unions were legal in six states.
Tuesday, the Legislature in Biden’s home state, Delaware, voted to become the 11th such state, part of a rapid shift on the issue that is making same-sex marriage the norm in liberal parts of the country. The Delaware Senate approved the marriage bill 12-9, sending it to Gov. Jack Markell, who has championed the measure.
Delaware’s action, combined with Rhode Island’s passage of a similar law last week, means that same-sex marriage is now legal in most of the Northeast, from Maine through Maryland, with the notable exceptions of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The legislative battles on the issue are now moving to the Midwest, where the Minnesota House is expected to vote on a marriage bill later this week. The outcome there hinges on a few legislators, mostly members of the state’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party representing rural parts of the state, who have not yet revealed their positions.
The year’s biggest prize for supporters of same-sex marriage would be Illinois, where a legalization bill has passed the state Senate, but faces a more difficult fight in the House.
Supporters say they are closing in on the votes they need, but with the Legislature’s spring session entering its final weeks, they have not yet brought the measure to the House floor. Gov. Pat Quinn has promised to sign the bill if it passes both houses.