Gay marriage clears committee, gears up for full Senate vote

By Amy Cherry 5:49pm, May 1, 2013 - Updated 12:35pm, May 2, 2013
Gay marriage clears a state Senate committee in a move that sends the measure to the full Senate for consideration.

WDEL's Amy Cherry reports.

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Supporters like Ron Tipton of Milton say he and his partner of nearly 50 years--deserve to say "till death do us part."

"I could never have dreamt that one day Bill and I would get married. I still can't believe this might really happen. However, there's one thing I do know for sure: Bill and I have been married in our hearts for almost 49 years despite the fear of physical harm and the threat of discrimination," says Tipton.

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But opponents like pastor Chris Rue of the Word of Life Christian Center argued against redefining the traditional view of marriage.

"The average male homosexual in a lifetime will have between 100 and 500 sexual partners and most will only be for one time. This is disproportionate to those in heterosexual marriages who on average would have eight," says Rue.

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He argues if Delaware passes same-sex marriage, it may as well legalize polygamy too.

"Cause if we redefine marriage, then we're taking the term monogamy and fidelity and we're totally blowing that out of the water," he says.

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But pastor Donald Morton made a passionate plea in support of same-sex marriage.

"Take no part in denying justice to any of God's children any longer," says Morton.

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One argument we hadn't heard in past debates--gay marriage is a threat to public safety. Nixie Laremore of Seaford urged members of the state Senate's Executive Committee to vote against same-sex marriage in support of public safety and public health.

"Gay men on the gay lane are 50 times, not five, 50 times more likely to contract HIV as compared to those on the heterosexual lane."

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Terry Jones says this law would be too late for him and his partner Bill, a decorated war veteran who died six months ago.

"We will forever be casualties of the laws of our own country," he says solemnly.

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Jones, like others, argue if the federal Defense of Marriage Act is struck down by the Supreme Court and Delaware doesn't pass gay marriage, they and their partners will be "strangers in the eyes of the law."

The measure narrowly passed in the House last week and faces a tough battle in the Senate as well.

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