After a ten year battle by gay activists, yesterday the Delaware legislature voted to add sexual orientation (but not gender identity) to its list of protected classes.
The House chamber erupted in applause, cheers and hugs when representatives passed the measure shortly after 8:30 p.m. An hour earlier, the Senate — where previous versions of the legislation always were killed — passed the same bill after a three-hour debate. The bill now goes to Gov. Jack Markell for his signature. Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, who helped push the bill through the House, said Markell has expressed support for it. “We made a big step forward tonight,” said Drewry Fennell, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Delaware, which supported the bill. “It protects the most basic activities of human life — moving about the world, earning a living, keeping a roof over your head,” Fennell said. “Now the state has said you can’t be discriminated against because of sexual orientation.”
The bill covers discrimination in employment, housing, insurance, and public accommodations.