Delaware becomes eleventh state to approve same-sex marriage
May 7th, 2013
05:54 PM ET
12 months 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. sly

    Republicans – aren't y'all getting tired of losing? 11 states today, 40 next year.

    America is progressing very well with our great President: Health Care for 40 million uninsured citizens, Our 2 top enemies destroyed, the Bush Oil Wars have been ended, equal rights for all Americans. Next: Immigration reform.

    Thank you President Obama.

    May 8, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  2. RJW

    ==This is your CHOICE. You were not born this way.==

    Are you gay? If not then I hardly think you are an authority on the subject. It's not a choice. It is just who somebody is. You don't have to like it but don't pretend to know what you are talking about when it's clear you have no clue.

    May 8, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. ED

    I'm glad that the Delaware people has choosen to support same sex marriage. Eventhough I'm a Catholic, I still believe that everyone should be given the opportunity of being happy, regardless of everything else.
    ....pursuite of happiness.... In the U.S. constitution remember

    May 8, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  4. Mr. Smith

    If Marriage was created by a higher power, then how can Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Hindu's, pagans, agnostics, aethists, wiccans be allowed to get Married? They don't believe in The same god as Christians and therefore should be banned from getting married.

    As for Polygmy it is allowed by the Christian bible.

    May 8, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  5. AW

    I used to be like the close minded bigots. First gays do not choose to be gay, they are born that way. I have a daughter and a brother that prayed for years that they did not have these feelings to the point that they got depressed and sick. Now that they came out they are happy and both very successful. Second if you believe all that is written in the bible then no one would ever be overweight. It clearly said in Proverbs 23:2 proclaims, “Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.” This also means drink and over habits you might have. Have you ever heard this message from the pulpit? Third if marriage is made in heaven why does over 50% end up in hell? Everyone deserves to be happy. Just because you are unhappy don't try and force your beliefs on someone who is happy.

    May 8, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  6. cedar rapids

    "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."

    do what now? what punishment? are you just spouting scary nonsense there mr brown? shame on you.

    May 8, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  7. Jack Rivera

    No use in commenting on Political Ticker they don't allow me to comment.

    May 8, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  8. Dan I

    As for the whole "Marriage was defined by God." Actually marriage was not a major thing in the Christian chuch until the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215. Prior to that the non-religious element of a marriage was FAR more important.

    May 8, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  9. aberdamy

    @bates1960
    Completely separate issue, as this is not a human rights issue at all. We have as a society blurred the line between what is a "human right" and what is truth. You cannot redefine marriage to include the gay population as that redefines the definition and the two are mutually exclusive. Call them a union or partnership, but don't call it a marriage and redefine it.
    And yes God is real and alive and we can talk to Him and have a personal relationship with Him. He created us and defined marriage between a man and a woman before any of us existed. This is not religion, this is truth and I would encourage you to seek God with all your heart to find the answers you're searching for.

    May 8, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. JJ

    Sad to see our nation growing further away from God. More people turning to Satan and living in open sin. hell awaits them.

    May 8, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  11. harpomatt

    @Kenny
    I suppose you can prove that being Gay is not a choice? Oh you may have many "experts" that say it isn't a choice but to date it is neither proven nor disproven. Yet we are creating a protected class without full and complete knowledge of the facts.

    May 8, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  12. RJW

    @JJ:

    And won't you be surprised when you get to Heaven and – gasp – there are gay people there too. You have lots of fun judging people? I'll never understand "Christians" like you. You give Christianity a bad name. I know plenty of gay people who are devout Christians and it's a shame that people like you choose to place those people – who are your fellow Christians – at the margins.

    May 8, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. GOPlease

    @aberdamy
    definitions change ALL THE TIME. get over it, it's called a marriage now and you had better get used to it b/c ultimately it won't make any difference to you in any way what-so-ever.
    and you can't prove or disprove god exists so you can't validly argue in terms of god so keep hating, bigot, maybe one day reason and rationality will sink in.

    May 8, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  14. Junior

    Funny, I guess my marriage is different than most people commenting. I still love my wife and want to spend the rest of my life with her. This decision hasn't changed my marriage one bit. I still go to church and try to do good everyday. I'd like to know what punishment I'm in for since I don't care if you include 2 dogs together as marriage.

    May 8, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. RJW

    @aberdamy

    So long as you recognize he created ALL of us, gay people and all. And nobody is trying to force churches to redefine marriage. Churches are free to perform marriage ceremonies to their liking and if they want to not recognize gay marriages as "holy." But, as long as the state grants "marriage" licenses then your argument is a moot point. The state doesn't engage in religious recognition. It engages in the granting of a license. Maybe you should try and get the state to make all licenses something other than marriage and let your churches use that term. The bottom line, however, is that a "marriage" ceremony in a church means nothing from a legal perspective. Many people choose to have that ceremony as an affirmation of their relationship before God, and even though I think gay people should be able to do the same and know that some churches peform those ceremonies, I also respect the right of churches to deny that.

    May 8, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  16. Take That

    in your face, misogynistic deities.

    May 8, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. Kenny Shackleford

    Yes I can. My son was gay until he was murdered by a mindless moron when he was 19.

    May 8, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  18. Mark

    @JJ

    I am a Christian and some times I am ashamed to be one with people who have such closed minds. I am so glad you JJ know God's heart and mind. I also love how some Christians are so gleeful about people going to hell.

    May 8, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. jw

    this is great! more on the way.....finally another step for equal rights in USA. we have been behind the curve on this issue for far too long....all tax paying adult citizens deserve equal rights.

    May 8, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  20. LWJR

    Post Christian nation. Is this a country vets could fight for? My parents/grandparents are rolling in their graves. endtimesurvivalguide dought calm

    May 8, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. rabbitcommarogerindyreader

    "Andrew McCauley
    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."

    So true. It's also completely consistent with the observation that's gaining a lot of empirical support, that the "conservative" brain responds disproportionately to fear. It takes a lot longer for people with that quality to accept new ideas and change, as the very structure of their brain fights it. Same goes in a macro scale for churches and religions. True believers say their particular scripture never changes and neither does their church. It's demonstrably false – they just change slowly enough to avoid that programmed-in fear reaction from vast populations. What church defends slavery these days? It's right there in the bible – not a single rule saying slavery is categorically wrong, but only a short chapter on just how to treat one's slaves. Yet now churches are proud to claim that they led the charge to abolish slavery. Change, but just slow enough,...
    ------------------–
    "robertholt
    God will punish this open rebellion against Him."

    Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. That's all you have.

    May 8, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  22. ialsoagree

    @RJW

    Actually, to further your point, churches don't perform marriages, they perform weddings.

    Only the states can grant a marriage license. The ceremony – a wedding – can be performed by just about anyone.

    May 8, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  23. Jordan

    Sly I wasn't aware there was 51 states.

    May 8, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. how long till it was "always " in the GOP platform?

    Sad for the haters. Find something new.

    May 8, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  25. Marcus

    United States President Barack Obama is likely to endorse a Federal Bureau of Investigation effort that would ensure all Internet companies in the US provide a way for the government to conduct undetected, backdoor surveillance.

    May 8, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
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