(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
To K from AZ – the Roman Empire collapsed AFTER it converted to Christianity, you have things backward. It thrived while it was a multi-religious tolerant state.
Conservatives were just as scared about the sanctity of marriage being harmed by interracial marriage. Don't let their "protect marriage" label fool you, it's no different than their "pro life" label.
The dominoes are falling. Soon gay marriage will be a national law.
If, as the Liberals, "progressives" and homosexuals say, marriage is not about morality, or religion,or procreation, or tradition, then can someone please give me a reason why I can't have more than one spouse? Other countries and governments allow it. Since polygamy has been around longer than democracy there is no reason to deny a legal, marital partnership that involves more that two people.
For: Same sex couples to have the same rights as married couples Against: Calling it "Marriage" a better term would be "Legal Partnership".. Marriage was created by a Higher Power between a Man and a Woman. Also, remember gay people- This is your CHOICE. You were not born this way.
Ever heard of "bisexual"?
A duck can be called an ocean liner but that does not mean the duck can take on passengers. You can say that marriage is genderless but that is nonsense, as marriage between a man and a woman. Personally I am taking the word GAY back to mean merely happy and rainbow to mean the rainbow in sky, and the bow in the sky to mean Jesus/hebrew name Yeshua. And I support what Yesuha supports, that marriage is between one man and one woman and that he is the Torah made flesh. Nothing hateful about what I said. Just teaching you Torah.
By the way, you do know that the largest most vehement supporters of so called gay rights are child predators such as NAMBLA and Butterfly Kisses? Where have you all been, but sleeping. Time to wake up.
How does a business owner lose any "rights" by providing service to a gay customer? You think they should have the right to discriminate? How about if they don't like blacks, unwed mothers, Jewish people, and the list goes on? That is OK too? And if not, how is it different? The notion that if someone cannot push their religious agenda on someone else is somehow infringing on their rights is beyond comprehension.
Wow. They desecrated our flag and corrupted it. I can't believe that they would do that. If they want to make their own flag, then they should be a separate nation.
Also shouldn't we be able to marry someone who may already be married?
And JTS, be quiet. it will never be a national law. The Mormons in Utah are very stubborn about this issue and Gay marriage will never be legal there.
Same ignorant religious comments. Same strawman arguments. Same old, same old from the bigots...oops, sorry....conservatives.
C'est la vie....we'll just keep moving forward without them, which thankfully more people are starting to realize is the only way this country will ever become a world leader again.
So much hate on these boards from the social conservatives...
@lawful – cave-dweller thinking like yours is on the way out, and we'll be a better nation for that.
Even though i dont agree with it im glad its happening.
Kesley, YOU be quiet. Stop whining about the flag. We're all sorry you're bent out of shape over something you thankfully have zero control over.
Common misconception that this nation was founded on Christian ideals. In your puny mind, most of the founding fathers would be labeled as agnostic at best, atheists at worst. The "under god" phrase was added to the pledge in 1954, and you will find zero references to god/religion in the constitution or its amendments other than to specify that the state has nothing to do with either.
Really Curtis? Their choice?. Better keep yourself anonymous, your ignorance is showing. The institution of marriage was not created by any deity. It is a legal contract. Why did I have to go to the state to get a marriage license and not a priest? Just because you don't like it or agree with it doesn't mean you can prohibit your fellow citizens their right to marry just because of who they love. You DONT HAVE THAT RIGHT. Everyone should be equal. If everyone can't get married, then no one should be able to....myself included.
Decades from now, after gay marriage becomes the law of the land, the conservatives won't have the guts to say they're against it and will claim support – just like they did with slavery, with desegregation, with interracial marriage.
A conservative is someone who supports a liberal idea long after it's become the standard.
God will punish this open rebellion against Him.
Another thing the Bible says about marriage:
"A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. "
The argument goes, "Well, this is Old Testament. This doesn't apply anymore." Well, the same goes for Leviticus. People on the "religious right" (which is neither religious nor right) have been picking and choosing what tenets of the Bible they want society to follow to conform with their own prejudices.
Homosexual behaviors wouldn't be normal for straight,heterosexual folks since it's not the sexual orientation you were given during the gestation stage of pregnancy. However, homosexual behavior is normal for Gay people since that's the orientation we developed with during gestation, when the brain of the fetus is sexualized with differing amounts of hormones. Besides, another indicator that homosexual acts would be abnormal for heterosexuals would be the fact that the acts would be forced, artifical, devoid of the emotions we as a society call "love." There are many Gay couples at my church who have been together for 30-40 years. This really isn't rocket science, it's simply that we have been lied about for too long, too many myths about who we are. That's the problem with majorities, they feel they are authorized to define the identities of minorities. Now we are having to delayer the myths. It takes a while. Society will be working this out for a while.
why is everyone freaking out about the flag. it's simply not the american flag now. it's different. I'm allowed to take a blue field that has 50 stars on it and add it to any piece of cloth i like. I hope you're familiar with the idea that some flags have nothing to do with america. Every country has one, lots of organizations have one and many of them look similar to old glory (it's not that original if you think about it, idiots). 7 stripes to represent life/healing/sunlight/nature/harmony/spirit with a field of 50 stars to represent the states... not that weird.
To all of those complaining about the "moral sinkhole" this country is headed towards, please pack up and move to another country that still has "values" and "ethics". I hear the Middle East is quite the destination for you people.
As to the poster who said being gay is a choice and we are not born this way; do you actually know a gay person? The suicide rate for gay teens is 5 times higher than straight teens. Why would they kill themselves instead of just "choosing" to be straight?
And as for all of the religious posters who claim God said this, God said that, blah blah blah...since when does God dictate the laws of this country? Is God our president? Is he a real person? Can you talk to him? Ask him his thoughts? Do you sit down and eat dinner with him? (No shellfish, of course, as he said that's bad, too.) "God" also commands you to marry your slave's sister if you beat them to death; are you a slave owner? You should be, according to "God."
Keep religion in your church and home and away from our laws, as was intended from the beginning. Know this, though; you are part of a losing battle and your kids and your grandkids will look to you the same way we look to those in the 60s who supported turning a fire hose onto a black person because they were black.
I suppose you can prove that being gay is a choice? It is not a choice no more than being born with red hair. Also, marriage was around long before Christianity was. Stop hiding behind religion and your personal bigotry.
i can't wait for those days. Though you know all the bigots of today will pretend later that they were never anti-gay. I know my grandparents pretend to have never been racist, but that's simply impossible right?