Delaware becomes eleventh state to approve same-sex marriage
May 7th, 2013
05:54 PM ET
2 years ago

Delaware becomes eleventh state to approve same-sex marriage

(CNN) – Delaware became the eleventh state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage Tuesday after the State Senate approved the measure and the state's governor signed it into law.

Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat, signed the bill following a 12-9 vote in the State Senate passing the measure. The State House approved the bill in April.

While the state had an existing civil unions law, the new measure allows gay and lesbian couples to legally marry. Rhode Island, Iowa, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Washington and the District of Columbia all allow same-sex marriage.

"Today, we wrote a new chapter in our history and proved, once again, justice and equality continue to move forward in Delaware," Markell wrote in a statement following the bill's signing.

His approval was echoed by Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden.

"This is a historic day for Delaware," Attorney General Biden wrote. "Because of today's vote, all Delawareans will be equal under the law and free to choose whom to love and whom to spend their lives with."

In March, a divided United States Supreme Court heard arguments over the legality of two marriage laws – the federal Defense of Marriage act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, and California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage.

The nine justices hinted at disparate views on the hot-button issue, though it was far from clear how they will rule. A decision is expected in June.

Opponents of same-sex marriage include some religious and socially conservative groups. Brian Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage, wrote the new Delaware law "redefines marriage for everyone" in the state.

"Every marriage will now be genderless," Brown continued in a statement. "That means that anyone who cannot accept this radical and flawed change to marriage is going to be subjected to punishment."

But gay rights activists hailed the law's passage, saying it represents momentum for supporters of marriage equality laws across the nation.

"As America waits for rulings from the Supreme Court on two historic marriage cases, Delaware today took decisive action and guaranteed equality for the thousands of gay and lesbian couples of that great state," said Chad Griffin, the president of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign. "Thanks to principled impatience from state leaders in Dover, the momentum for LGBT equality continues unabated."

CNN's Sara Fischer and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report


Filed under: Delaware • Gay rights • Jack Markell • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (394 Responses)
  1. JohnC

    "Every marriage will now be genderless," Brown continued in a statement. "That means that anyone who cannot accept this radical and flawed change to marriage is going to be subjected to punishment." What punishment? Yes if you go out and harm someone because you don't like gay marriage you will be punished. But simply objecting including making statements that you object won't be punished. This includes the fact that no church will be required to perform gay marriages - churches have long had the right to add requirements to being married in the church.

    May 8, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  2. Rickster

    This right wing conservative is glad we have added one more state to the list of the non bigoted. The less hate we have, the better off we are.

    May 8, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  3. Richie D

    "Every marriage will now be genderless," Brown continued in a statement. "That means that anyone who cannot accept this radical and flawed change to marriage is going to be subjected to punishment." And by "punishment", of course, he means "subjected to having to reconsider their own bigotry." I really do feel for them...this must be so hard on them.

    May 8, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  4. kip

    So if I as born a sinner ...there is now winning with you bible thumpers with the rest of my life. So Take your nickel and dime psychology and try some real world sense.

    May 8, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  5. Pamela

    In a few years polygamy will be legal, since there is now no legal justification for keeping it illegal. Five year old children and up will be taught more and more graphic descriptions of every imaginable form of sex. Anyone who wants to exercise their freedom of religion will be punished; fined, fired, revoked licenses, even jail. But it doesn't matter to progressives, all those things are irrelevant as long as people who were already living together and loving each other can now say they are married. they used to say, "no, those things will never happen," but now that they all have all they can say is, "it doesn't matter. Our rights trump parental and religious rights."

    May 8, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  6. edutron

    I guess all left wingers are homosexual! What 100 million homossexuals in the U.S. – NOT

    May 8, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  7. Toni

    You call that equality. Boy America is going down the drain. Delaware will not get my business either.

    May 8, 2013 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  8. JesusSaves

    @RJW
    If the gay people you knew were truly devout christians, they would not be living that life style. I sin every day, but I ask God 4 forgivness and to give me the strength not to sin, I do it because I love him and I recognize that alot of the things I do are wrong, so if the gay people you know truly love God , they would recognize that the life style they live is wrong

    May 8, 2013 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  9. Mark in San Diego

    This is the top story on the list? OMG! CNN, are you trying to deflect attention away from Obama and HillDog?

    May 8, 2013 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  10. Erin Maureen

    I think that this is wonderful. I support gay rights because it's not fair to the people that want to be with whom they choose, but cant because of the "law".

    May 8, 2013 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  11. Sam Adams

    As usual, the opponents have dire predictions without a shred of specifics:

    "Every marriage will now be genderless," Brown continued in a statement. "That means that anyone who cannot accept this radical and flawed change to marriage is going to be subjected to punishment."

    Right. "punishment" - really? What is he imagining as "punishment"? Maybe he has some REALLY KINKY ideas about "traditional" marriage that would be most interesting to read.

    May 8, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  12. Hillcrester

    If MN and/or IL decide to permit SSM, the foothold in middle America will be solidified.

    This is an idea whose time has come. The expansion across the US is unstoppable.

    May 8, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  13. w1wag

    It would be 12 states if Christie had not vetoed a bill passed in NJ a while back.

    May 8, 2013 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  14. sam stone

    "Stay off my property, stay away from me and family, and I'll tolerate you."

    How sweet of you

    May 8, 2013 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  15. Mario

    ~1/5 of the way there

    May 8, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. Chuck

    Caligula's America, looses another state to satan

    May 8, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  17. Jack Smidth

    I'm a 57 year old white gay man and have been gay most of my adult life, been to gay bars a two thousand times at least, sleep with many hundreds of guys, many, many, too, but when it comes to gay marriage, let's face it my gay brothers, in the eyes of God this ain't right. I know it, and if pleasure weren't at the top of most of my gays brothers minds over reason, they would admit it too. Since I got the gift of faith ten years ago, boy, did my eyes open. You may call me what you like, but I'm as gay as any gay in orientation, but in chosen life or death, heaven or hell, it's hands up for forsaking getting my rocks off and living a solid Christian life to make it to the life that will never end in happiness. What fools we mortals be! It reminds me of what Sir Thomas Moors said to his critics who denied Jesus: This for Wales!

    May 8, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  18. sebastian

    why everybody mad with the only person that really love you.God love everybody while u still alive now.but when u died,no excuse before the throne of Him.u going to get what u desired in this earth.One day u going to die,where u going to pass eternity?.u going to see GOD of heaven one day for the first or second time and then jugdement moment.Now is the time to know him byourself and experience the same that me.I was abuse when i was 9 or 10 years old thinking then i was born like that but wasnt true.I tell u he raise me to tell u that He love u and want u to experience his love that is greather than a love of mens.Jesus came to give u life and give u turnaround in ur life .

    May 8, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  19. Lou

    The states laws do not trump God's law. Only God can sanctify a marriage in his eyes.

    May 8, 2013 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
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