The Delaware state Senate has unanimously passed the second leg of a constitutional amendment that bans discrimination based on race, color, or national origin, adding the language to the Equal Rights Amendment.
Senate Bill 31, previously referred to as Senate Bill 191, was the first piece of legislation to pass on the Delaware Legislative Black Caucus' Justice for All Agenda, revealed last June at a news conference in front of Legislative Hall in Dover.
Thursday, all members of the state Senate also asked to be added as a co-sponsors of the measure, further signifying its unanimous approval prior to roll call.
"I have to tell you, I recall very well last year how meaningful it was, and I think I can speak on behalf of everyone the unanimous roll call for support of the first leg," said Sen. Ernie Lopez (R-Rehoboth Beach) in a virtual session Wednesday, January 21, 2021.
The measure now heads to the House, where it's expected to achieve final passage.
The measure requires approval by two-thirds of both Houses since it's a constitutional amendment, but that shouldn't be a problem. Last June, it passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate.
"By passing this amendment to the Delaware Constitution, the State Senate today has taken a small but meaningful step on the long road of addressing the original sin of this nation and this state,” said Sen. Darius Brown (D-Wilmington), who's the prime sponsor of the measure. "Dismantling system racism in Delaware must begin with our founding document. With this legislation, we are saying clearly that all people – no matter their skin color and no matter their background – are guaranteed the basic rights and dignity promised to us for generations.”