Spaghetti Dinner—First off, remember that the 23rd Representative District (RD) is holding its 14th annual spaghetti dinner and auction on Friday April 3rd from 6-9pm at the UU church in Newark (www.uufn.org). I have tickets, $10 each. Chris Coons has agreed to emcee the auction—he is a riot. There is a rumor that we will have an item donated by a sitting Vice President of the US. Hurry before they run out!
Things are heating up in Dover
Equal Rights Legislation in Dover—HB 5 (Non-discrimination Bill, described later) should have a hearing this Wednesday at 2:30pm in the House chamber, before the House Administration Committee (Schwartzkopf, Cathcart, Gilligan, Longhurst, and Daniel Short). Three of these committee members are co-sponsors of the legislation, so the bill SHOULD get approved on Wednesday. This is an opportunity for you to testify before the committee. The bill could come before the full House on Thursday (with 18 co-sponsors, odds favor its passage in the House). I expect a tougher time in the state Senate. If you haven’t yet called, written, or visited your state Representative, and expressed your support for HB 5, please do so right away.
Note that ‘the opposition’ has been busy spreading lies, on the radio and in the papers, including a doozy that says that this legislation will lead to churches that oppose same-sex marriage losing their tax-exempt status. If the facts don’t support you, I guess that you have to resort to lies… We had eight years of that—didn’t we learn anything from it?
HB 5 – Non-discrimination Bill, sponsored by Rep. Schwartzkopf & Sen. Sokola, will prohibit discrimination against persons on the basis of sexual orientation in housing and employment. HB 10 – Domestic Partner Benefits for State Government Employees, sponsored by Rep. Schooley & Sen. Henry, will make the domestic partner of a state of Delaware regular officer, employee or eligible pensioner entitled to the same benefits that are provided to the spouse of a state employee or pensioner. HB 75 - Hospital & Nursing Facility Visitation Bill, sponsored by Rep. Keeley, Kowalko & Sen. Bunting, allows each competent adult patient to receive visits in a Hospital, nursing home or nursing facility from any individual from whom the patient desires to receive visits. It’s embarrassing that this legislation hasn’t been passed in Delaware years ago. I recommend the DLFMembers Yahoo Group, which does a great job of keeping up on this legislation.
Bob Martz has been doing a great job coordinating the EQUAL Rights for ALL in Delaware coalition of over a dozen organizations which are working together to get this important legislation passed in our state.
Marriage Discrimination Act—Senator Venables has introduced Senate Bill 27 (SB27) which is designed to promote a Constitutional Amendment to require that marriage be only between a man and a woman, to prohibit a church (there are many faith communities that welcome ALL, and would like to be permitted to perform such union ceremonies) or a justice of the peace from marrying, or creating a civil union between other loving couples. There is a hearing set for 1pm this Wednesday, of the Senate Small Business Committee (members Venables, Bunting, Ennis, Katz, and Sorenson). Please write to your senator, and to at least one of the senators on this committee, to request that they work to stop this discrimination from being codified in Delaware.