(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
If you believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that falls in line with your religion, that's fine. However, unfortunately for you, you live in a secular republic. The laws of this country are based off of the ideas of the separation of church and state, and majority rule. Therefore, no law can be based off of religious ideology, and what the majority wants, the majority gets. Since your belief that marriage is between a man and woman is based off of your religious views, you cannot deny another groups legal right to get married on that basis. You need a legitimate legal basis. Further, it seems as if the majority is slowly turning against your idea. My suggestion is to just live your life and deal with it.
Whether you like it or not, believe it or not, God created marriage! And He created it for one man and one woman. God hav EVERYTHING to do with marriage.
To Sandy – actually Rome did not dissapear after accepting Christianity. Constantine accepted Christianity, moved the capitol of Rome to Cantantinope, and "Rome" lasted for another 1200 years as the Christian Empire called "Byzantium" until defeated by Suliamid in the 15th century.
The rainbow is a sign of the covenent God made with Noah to never destroy the earth with a flood. He created that as well!!
Religion is the biggest scam in the history of humanity
Finally! Let's keep it going for marriage equality!
MN and IL are inching closer. The NJ legislature has approved it, but future-candidate-hopeful Christie won't sign it.
Let's keep the marriage equality train rolling!
"By the power vested in my by the state of ..."
So true. I would suggest that churches that have an issue with gay marriage stop performing state-sanctioned marriages and instead perform religious marriages, informing their members that to have the state's approval for their union, they need to go to the state for that.
The religious "marriage" and the state's "union" or "contract" ought to be two separate things. Churches can force that issue.
H2oman36–whether you like it or not, your god exists only in the minds of believers and does not exist at all for us non-believers.
Here we go, America, here we go! YES! One giant step for equality!!!
The profitable company in the world , Apple, has a gay CEO thus finally gay is ok.
In my mind, marriage is a social contract between two consenting, adult individuals. Gender does not matter.
I question the various statements about God creating marriage between one man and one woman. How does that account for all of the various societies that allowed polygamy or concubines?
While in some people's minds marriage has become a religious institution, if you listen to the officiant at most ceremonies, there is a statement about the "power vested in me by the State of ______." Marriage is a civil matter, not a religious one.
On the contrary, polls indicate that the gays are the minority here, not Christians with less than 5% of the public being homosexual. So you contradict yourself on the basis of the majority ruling. Furhtermore, many laws are the result of the minority gaining passage of a bill, i.e. blacks rights. Number two, why are people who aren't gay care so much for the "rights" of such a large minority? What do they care? They shouldn't. And three, on what legal basis should gays have equal rights with regards to marriage? Your ideology? Since when is the secular ideology better than religious ideology? Thanks to people like yourself, America has been on the moral decline, and will be, for a long time. Hope you can stomach the society that you and your kind support. I don't want to hear any crying when you reap the immorality that you in society.
Gay is okay:)
Genderless Marriage? Where do these clowns come up with this garbage. He even tries to explain what that means and fails explaining it. Like ALL the groups that stand in the doorway of equality, these people think we should all abide buy their rules (biblical) when they themselves do not. That is called a hypocritc and that is what they are.
I totally believe all people should same equality
"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." – Happy to hear that....polygyny, polyandry, incest, group sex...time to test the theory.
We're here. We're queer. Gay marriage now exists in 11 states so Americas...it's time to accept the change.
As usual, most of the anti- crowd know only how to respond with religious arguments. Religion is simply irrelevant in this discussion of US civil law. It's built into the law that the government has to treat all citizens the same regardless of their religious. Read up on the lemon Test – a heuristic the supreme court uses to determine whether a piece of legislation under discussion is constitutional or not. if the only rationale behind a law's existence is religious – in other words, if the law has no reasonable secular purpose – then it's unconstitutional. You're free to not get same-sex married if your religion forbids it – but don't try to force other people to live by your religion's rules. By definition, that's un-American.
Ok, go ahead and fly your rainbow flag, that's fine. But DO NOT deface our American flag. You make yourself look a fool by changing the color of the stripes, and don't even have the correct ammount!
Ik right rodeo will?!?!? I just got done telling everybody that people like Esaias are walking talking bags of ...., thats how people him become "awsome" church pastors, slick, snakey works that seem intelligent, but in reality, they have no idea what their talking about:/
The difference between Sodom and Gomorrah and now is that back then not one person could be found that was morally upright so God quickly destroyed both cities. Today what few of "the salt" that remains could very well be what is keeping the hasty end from happening right now. It sure appears that every element is lining up for the occasion. Climate changes, super volcanos ready to exploded, super earth quakes predictions, mega earth killing asetroids, SARs, Ebola, MERSA, etc....you see the seasons of change are lining up......
The Southern Poverty Law Center is a hate group.
For all of you who think God gives a rip about two men or two women getting married, can you put your prayer powers to good use and ask God to tell the narrow-minded legislators here in the south to recognize it? My partner and I have been together for 11 years and would love for our son to know that his government doesn't put his moms in a second class category. Not all southerners are religion-clutching wackadoos...and not all of us are straight either!