One day after providing a front page photo op by attending a vigil in the CAMP Rehoboth Courtyard in solidarity with the Orlando LGBT Community, Republican State Senator Ernesto Lopez, who represents the Lewes/Rehoboth Beach area, refused to support a proposed State Constitutional Amendment which would have added an equal protection clause to the Delaware Constitution which barred discrimination to a number of protected classes, including the LGBT community.
Senator Lopez’s decision to side with all but one Republican meant that the Amendment was one vote short of the two/thirds needed for passage so sponsor Senator Karen Peterson withdrew the Amendment. Lopez argued that since current law provides protection a Constitutional Amendment was unnecessary. However, current law could be overturned by a simple majority of votes by the Legislature, while a change to the Constitution would involve a much more difficult effort to undo.
Lopez criticized the vote as being too soon after the tragedy at Orlando, asking for a cooling down period to reflect. The tragedy in Orlando proves that the time for reflection has long passed and the time for action is now. Orlando proved once again that the LGBT community is a target for hate and that we need equal protection laws now.
Although he ran twice as a friend to the LGBT community, Lopez also voted against Marriage Equality and Gender Equality when those bills were considered by the Legislature. Is he a true friend?
Lopez’s vote with the majority of Republicans shows why it is so important for groups such as the Barbara Gittings Delaware Stonewall Democrats to exist. With your support we will continue to fight for you, without you our efforts become less effective.
Acting President, Barbara Gittings Stonewall Democrats
and its Board