Delaware becomes eleventh state to approve same-sex marriage
May 7th, 2013
05:54 PM ET
1 year 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. Real Christian NY

    Congratulations Delaware! Welcome to the 21st Century! Thank you for ensuring EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL in your beautiful state! Step by Step. State by State. We move forward and evolve for the BETTER!! I'm thrilled to be witnessing history and look forward to NATIONALIZED GAY MARRIAGE!! Praise the Lord!!!

    May 7, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  2. Patrick

    Congratulations! And thanks for setting an example for the states still left behind.

    May 7, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  3. AOU

    14 in the world 11 in the nation. It can only go up!!!

    May 7, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  4. lgbarn

    I guess marriage to your dog is next on the agenda.

    May 7, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  5. Alex Brown

    Gasp! The world is going to end etc etc etc. 11 down, 39 to go.

    May 7, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  6. CarrotCakeMan

    Why does CNN give the anti-gay Hate Cult screamer this publicity? We all know he's lying.

    May 7, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  7. Carl, Secaucus, NJ

    "Every marriage will now be genderless"? I don't get it. The law means that two people of the same gender can get married, it doesn't remove gender from the marriage.

    May 7, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  8. afmcalax

    It is so sad that the so-called religious leaders continue to spread their fear and discredited propaganda. Makes a person wonder how Christian they really are ... appears they are pretty judgemental concerning the private lives of other consulting adults. When will they learn that America is a Constitutional government not one based on their biased Bible.

    May 7, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  9. mario (from brazil_)

    All the principles that made america great in the past ate going down the drain

    May 7, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  10. MelissaA520

    More and more countries are approving gay marriage so when is the United States going to wake up. Some of the countries that have approved it are way more religious than the us.

    May 7, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  11. jimmy

    hilarious. what exactly is the "punishment" that people who disagree with the law will be subject to? keep up those hysterical, logic-defying statements, mr brown...you show the abject stupidity of your argument.

    May 7, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  12. MelissaA520

    More and more countries are approving gay marriage so when is the United States going to wake up. Some of the countries that have approved it are way more religious than the us. What difference does it make who someone loves as long as they love each other that's all that matters it's not mine or your business.

    May 7, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  13. Rod C. Venger

    Pathetic.

    May 7, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  14. kuewa

    Brian Brown thinks that this law makes all marriages genderless– presumably including his own heterosexual marriage. I wonder how his wife feels about being considered part of a genderless marriage. Could make for an interesting situation.

    May 7, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  15. T

    ...........anybody know when the GAY PRIDE PARADE will be dancing outside of the Westboro."Bapitist" Church.......?

    May 7, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  16. Pmdww2

    Congratulations Delaware on protecting the rights of ALL of your citizens.

    May 7, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  17. wolf

    "That means that anyone who cannot accept this radical and flawed change to marriage is going to be subjected to punishment."

    Um...someone needs to explain to this guy that this "radical and flawed" law has absolutely no effect on his life.

    May 7, 2013 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  18. Bob

    "That means that anyone who cannot accept this radical and flawed change to marriage is going to be subjected to punishment."

    What an idiot.

    May 7, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  19. iheartyou

    WOOHOOO!!! Welcome, Delaware! Welcome to equality for all. :) CONGRATS DELAWAREANS!

    May 7, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  20. pokydoke

    Good for Delaware. How long will it take for the ignorati in The red states to come around?

    May 7, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  21. Observer

    Rhode Island and Delaware now. Bigotry and ignorance is being replaced by understanding.

    May 7, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  22. Erik

    Uncanny how it's the states permitting marriage equality largely mirror the free states during slavery times. Hopefully, the South will be pushed into this equality issue just like it was with ending slavery, civil rights, and much more – and I'm a Southerner.

    May 7, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  23. LivinginVA

    Congrats!!!!

    May 7, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  24. The Pope

    11 down, 39 to go. It won't be long now.

    May 7, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  25. dreucalypt

    When Brian Brown says "anyone who cannot accept this radical and flawed change to marriage is going to be subjected to punishment" the punishment he seems to mean is that Catholic hospitals will no longer be permitted to prohibit gay people from visiting the bedsides of their dying spouses.That is a harsh punishment indeed!

    May 7, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
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