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Delaware Senate Passes Gay Marriage Bill

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By RANDALL CHASE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

DOVER, Del. -- Delaware will become the 11th state to allow same-sex marriages.

A divided state Senate gave final legislative approval Tuesday to a bill authorizing same-sex marriage after hearing about three hours of debate. The vote sends the bill to Democratic Gov. Jack Markell, who has promised to sign it.The bill doesn't give same-sex couples any more rights or benefits under Delaware law than they currently have with civil unions. But supporters say same-sex couples deserve the dignity and respect of married couples. They also hope the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a federal law barring married gay couples from receiving federal benefits.

Opponents, including many Delaware religious leaders, argue same-sex marriage redefines and destroys a centuries-old institution that is a building block of society.

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