(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
Liberal state figures. Glitter plssers can all got there.
I love how DC is one of 11 states
Good good. Hopefully in a few decades this will be looked back on in the same way that historic objections to interracial marriage are looked on now.
Anti-gay marriage bigots: hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! And what is this about marriage becoming "genderless?" A man and man together still have genders. What a bunch of moronic slather
"Not wanting gay couples to get married because of your religion is like not wanting someone to eat a cookie because you're on a diet".
Congratulations to all citizens of Delaware! Happiness to all gay and lesbian couples who will now be able to marry in their home state!
The moral sinkhole that this country has become continues to grow.
Looks like one more state bites the dust. Gay marriage goes against everything the Bible stands for. Its just wrong. If people choose to live that way, thats thier business, but states shouldn't make it a law!! It just condones sexually deviant behavior.
Bravo!! Good for Delaware.
Well folks another state that has turned its back on God.He won't forget this either.Wait and see.
The NOM people just look foolish as marriage equality marches on. I think the Delaware Senator who said to the effect that if gay marriage troubles your marriage then you have serious problems already in your marriage. Equality for all.
god does not like ugly
That s a good report,let every body obey the law,
one more down, 39 to go.
Thank you Delaware!
Go Delaware! This is fantastic news!
What is the difference between a civil union and a marriage? Why are single people now being discriminated against.
Brian Brown is delusional. "Every marriage will now be genderless." Hmmm....Same-sex marriage has been taking place now in Maine since December, and my own marriage is not genderless. I am a woman, my husband is a man. Someone else might be in a marriage that includes two women or two men. Including all couples does not remove gender.
Congrats goes out to Delaware. I live in Indiana, and I wait for the day, I can marry my partner who I plan to spend the rest of my life with. I am 40 years old and struggled with my identity my entire life, until I met this remarkable human being last year, which made it easier to express who I truely am. I am a person, just like you, I have a job, pay bills, have 2 daughters, have a dog, have a home, have interest and hobbies. We just want to be treated equal and be happy!!!
Another one bites the dust.
"Every marriage will now be genderless," Brown continued in a statement. "That means that anyone who cannot accept pthis radical and flawed change to marriage is going to be subjected to punishment."
Perhaps hew can explain how he is going to be punished? His church can choose not to marry a gay couple, just like the catholic church refuses to marry a non catholic to a catholic.
the bottom line is, no one is forcing anything. You don't have to approve of same sex marriage, but that doesn't mean you get to keep rights guaranteed by the 14th amendment from an american citizen.
It all comes down to money – money for the couples : Social Security payments as they age, health insurance, lots of benefits financially! It has never been about "choice." Do not be fooled about that. There are always benefits of being legally married. However, as to Social Security later on: some people do not get married because their benefits will be reduced! So think through it before you "marry" whether man to woman, etc -