Delaware set to be 11th state to allow gay marriage

DOVER, Delaware Tue May 7, 2013 5:55pm EDT

Supporters of gay marriage hold rainbow-colored flags as they rally in front of the Supreme Court in Washington March 27, 2013. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Supporters of gay marriage hold rainbow-colored flags as they rally in front of the Supreme Court in Washington March 27, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts

DOVER, Delaware (Reuters) - The Delaware senate approved a bill legalizing gay marriage on Tuesday, paving the way for it to become the 11th U.S. state to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The state's lower house has already approved the measure. The governor has said he will sign it into law.

Delaware's vote follows a successful effort to legalize same-sex marriage in Rhode Island last Friday. Gay marriage bills are also under consideration in Minnesota and Illinois.

The Democratic-controlled Minnesota House is scheduled to vote Thursday on a proposal to make same-sex marriage legal in the state.

Minnesota House Speaker Paul Thissen had said previously that a vote would not be scheduled unless there was enough support to approve the measure, indicating that legislative leaders believe that enough representatives support the bill for it to pass the House.

A final vote has not yet been scheduled in the state Senate, but Senate Majority Leader Thomas Bakk has said that he believed there was enough support among senators to approve the measure.

Minnesota voters last November rejected a ballot measure that would have enshrined the state's current ban on same-sex marriage in the state's constitution and also voted into office majorities on both sides of the legislature.

(Reporting by Edith Honan, additional reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Scott Malone and Andrew Hay)