(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
Welcome to the 21st Century
So, how does passing this law subject to punishment those who oppose gay marriage? It may subject them to ridicule, which I think is the proper response to bigotry.
Roughly 5% of Delaware's population consists of people who identify as LGBT.
I'm sure all five of them are thrilled.
Another sad day in america..
It's inevitable. If SCOTUS doesn't make it US Law in June, demographics will make it so in time. Opponents mostly come from the generations who were around when Gay sex was illegal. For the rest of us it's pretty obvious that the government has no business discriminating against Citizens based on their Sexual Orientation.
Does this mean that adults in Delaware who are seeking marriage equality, and who are homosexual polygamists, will be able to marry each other too? Also, does this vote mean that in Delaware, homosexual attraction is no longer a temptation, which if acted upon, creates further separation from God? If not, let's have a vote to overturn God's will that homosexual attraction not culminate in a homosexual act. BTW, many folks seem to concentrate on whether or not this saddens God, but I don't see anyone mentioning what they suppose Satan thinks about all of this.
It's just a matter of time.
What about what GOD said.
I know I'll probably get bashed and labelled hateful, which I am not. But you can't tell me that defacing the American Flag as shown in the picture above is anything short of treason. It is a disgrace to the United States of America for any organization no matter what they stand for to unashamedly alter our flag by changing the red and white stripes into a band of rainbow colored stripes. Looks pretty. But it's wrong and ranks right up there with burning the American flag! But nobody seems to believe there might actually be an agenda behind all of this... God help us!
What a mess... We are gonna get it... We cast aside the values that made America great... Have a relationship, love each other, but why marriage? The biblical values that made us who we are, are no longer values we hold. There is nothing anyone can say... It is what it is... America, be prepared to stand accountable... I'm not passing judgement, I'm as guilty as anyone who has ever sinned... it is what it is... Moving away from Christ-centered values is going to cost this country...
11 (& DC) down, only 39 more to go. WAY TO GO, Delaware....thank you!
Thank God I live in Texas. This will never happen here!
That's awesome. Let's follow up on that in the other 39 states! Come on Wisconsin, I believe in you.
another state that won't get my tourism $$$$$
If, because of your religious practice, you do not believe in same-sex marriage, then guess what? You may continue to hold that belief. The struggle is whether the State recognizes such relationships. We are supposed to be living in a civil society, not a theocracy. If anyone believes their marriage is somehow devalued by same-sex marriage, that's a personal problem that should be dealt with at that level. I am curious–we have had thousands of same-sex marriages in the US. Have straight couples stopped getting married as a result? Do they think less of themselves? Is there any real impact? Other than allowing same-sex couples the dignity to celebrate their unions in the way they choose?
Tick, tick, tick. The dominos are falling. Oh my will the right wing religious fools scream and cry.
CNN, this is major civil rights news and it's buried in headlines while the 435th story about the saved kidnapped women fills half the page. That's really unfortunate.
To the homophobic head of the National Organization for Marriage, just what punishment are we going to be subjected to?
There's no stopping us now!
Nice job burying this story, CNN...
The last holdouts in the Mid-Atlantic are New Jersey and Pennsylvania. But they're probably not far behind. Before long, you will be able to drive from Washington to Boston without ever leaving a state that allows marriage equality. Times are definitely changing.,
Why do the oponents always use such lame arguments?
""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."
Laughable! Absolutely laughable. So according to Brown, marriage will be genderless? If he had a working braincell, he would never have made a statement as meaningless as that. There will be PLENTY of gender in all of the marriages in Delaware, just not OPPOSITE genders in any particular instance. That's what's wrong with the conservative retro types. They do not feel subject to the laws of logic in their arguments. They make emotional pleas to peoples' vanity and sense of "the good old days". There never were "good old days", except as portrayed on TV shows and movies. That's why Brown's methods work on the not-so-bright.
Delaware is on the right side of history on this issue. Thanks for supporting basic human rights for everybody. In many ways our country is going in the right direction.
Again I will say Repent, Repent, Repent this rebellion against God is going to destroy the entire Nation once his grace is removed.
It used to be.....So goes california, so goes the rest of the nation......not anymore.....I am embarassed of my state now!!