By David Madden, Oren Liebermann

WILMINGTON, Del., (CBS) – Delaware could be the 10th state to approve same-sex marriage.

Delaware has begun the process that could lead to legal same-sex marriage in the First State as early as July 1st.

House Bill 75 would create full marriage equality for same-sex couples, and Governor Jack Markell vows to sign it if it gets to his desk.

“To deny them this opportunity is to deny them what is, perhaps, the most basic of the inalienable rights that we as Americans cherish, the pursuit of happiness,” said Markell.

Two years ago, legislators approved civil unions. Nicole Theis, President of the Delaware Family Policy Council, believes same sex marriage just goes too far.

“The problem is the direct impact this legislation has on the way government and society views gender, and therefore what is taught in schools and the impact on individual religious liberty,” said Theis.

Her group, and others, will fight House Bill 75 which mirrors laws now in place in nine other states. It will convert those civil unions into marriages within a year of enactment. No clergy member would be forced to officiate a gay wedding, but Theis is worried about others who provide goods and services who may see their religious sensitivities trampled here.

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