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Delaware Gay Marriage Vote Coming, Would Make It 11th State To Allow Same-Sex Couples To Marry

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(Repeats earlier story with no changes to text)

By Edith Honan

May 7 (Reuters) - Delaware lawmakers will take up a gay marriage bill on Tuesday in a bid to make the state the 11th to allow same-sex couples to wed.

The scheduled vote in the state's Democrat-controlled Senate follows the General Assembly's passage of the bill several weeks ago. Governor Jack Markell, an outspoken supporter of gay marriage, has vowed to sign the bill into law if it clears the Senate.

The vote follows a string of victories for advocates of same sex marriage. Last Friday, lawmakers in Rhode Island gave final approval to a marriage bill, which Gov. Lincoln Chafee quickly signed into law.

Last November, voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington state approved ballot measures legalizing gay marriage, marking the first time voters in any state extended marriage rights to same-sex couples in a popular referendum.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering a legal challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition for same-sex couples.

Other states that allow same-sex marriage are: Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York and Iowa. Delaware has allowed same-sex couples to enter into civil unions since 2011.

A majority of U.S. states, including much of the South, have approved constitutional amendments that define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The amendments effectively bar those states from formally recognizing same-sex relationships. (Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Paul Thomasch and Andrew Hay)

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