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

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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. Independent

    @Peter....I think the story about the 3 girls is a MUCH bigger deal then this but I am glad that people can do what they want in DE now!

    May 8, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  2. Harley

    Well thank goodness they can't prociate and replicate. Need a vaccine to cure those genes.

    May 8, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. John the Historian

    Gay marriage will come whether the Supreme Court allows it in June or probably kicks the can down the alley. Even Rush and Republican Senators are saying Gay marriage is inevitable. The world has not gone under since Catholic Spain, Lutheran Sweden, or Reformed Holland adopted Gay marriage. Marriage is a civil ceremony. Marriage has not been around for thousands of years. Queen Victoria married her cousin, not allowed today. The pharoahs of ancient Egypt married sisters and half-sisters. Mormons had polygamy. The Romans had polgyamy. Societ changes. Don't like Gay marriage don't have one. No one is forces churches to adopt Gay marriage. Gays are here so get use to it. There have been gay presidents, popes, senators, and congressmen. People have Gay brothers, sisters, son, daughters, cousins and in-laws. Now we have gay husbands or wives. Stop the hate.

    May 8, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. eavmama


    Are you serious? Relax. Sorry if the rainbow offends you. Is it just because you have a strong allegiance to the original 13 colonies? Because that's all those red and white stripes represent; the stars (which represent all current 50 states) are still there.

    The rainbow colors on the pride flag are actually more significant than you might think, and represent qualities that most of us (gay or straight) would find appealing: red is for life, orange is for healing, yellow is for sunlight, green is for nature, blue for harmony, and violet for spirit.

    No one in the gay community would ever suggest that the U.S. flag is changed to a rainbow flag. We're just showing both our patriotism and pride in one piece of fabric. If you're ok with us getting married, surely we're allowed to wave a piece of symbolic fabric in celebration.

    May 8, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  5. Banjo Ferret

    Good for Delaware! Tim the Destroyer of Worlds is both friend and ally to the LGBT community. He detests those who seek to maintain social inequality, especially under the guise of religious duty. Ferretianism is the one true religion. Repent and secure your purple energy bubble! (banjoferret d c)

    May 8, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. WhatIthink

    This is wrong. Marriage is supposed to be between a man and a woman. No wonder our world is falling apart. Suddenly everyone is becoming gay. Is this a cool thing now, or what?

    May 8, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. manhandler1

    Gee's a news flash for you....most all children who are born gay are from STRAIGHT parents.

    May 8, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. rabbitcommarogerindyreader

    TruthandConsequence – go ahead, it's obvious Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt is all you have. Newsflash: Many – I hope most – people are not motivated solely by fear. It's becoming fairly well established that the real mechanism behind the so-called "conservative" mind-set (which is too often really just authoritarianism) is just that – a disproportionality in the brain that favors perception of and calculations based on fear reactions rather than more rational processes. So you fear that all kinds of things will happen as a result of any innocuous change. This in turn feeds the slippery-slope arguments that end up saying "we can't allow same-sex marriage because POLYGAMY BAAAD." Besides being logically non-sequitur, it's just a bad form for arguing about civil law. Arguments for same-sex marriage are best made on the merits of that alone, and on the rules and rationales that are actually in civil law. Same-sex marriage will inevitably win this argument when all the stupid prejudices and obsolete and useless traditions have fallen away. If poly- marriages are to be, those will have to come on their own merits and a solid rational basis, too. Government may reasonably find that there are valid secular reasons to NOT recognize them – such as the rules that would have to exist to define them as three-or-more-party contracts may be much more complex than for two-party contracts and it may be too difficult to prevent 'gaming the system.' This would be a rational purpose. Against two-party same-sex civil marriage contracts, there just aren't any such rational arguments that even approach outweighing "all citizens equal under the law" and "maximize overall freedom."

    May 8, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. clevercandi

    I look forward to the day when all CONSENTING ADULTS will be allowed to follow their hearts.

    May 8, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  10. eavmama

    @WhatIthink: "Suddenly everyone is becoming gay. Is this a cool thing now, or what?"

    Yep. So cool to be discriminated against. Trendy to miss out on government benefits that our heterosexual counterparts get. Suuuuuper hip to have people try to "give you some religion" just for walking with your partner and child.

    It isn't that everyone's becoming gay. It's just that the narrow-minded are becoming inclusive and realizing that God has nothing to do with government.

    May 8, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  11. Jason

    To deny people rights based on stereotypes, hate, etc. is not enough. You need proof that allowing gays to marry will destroy the nation or hurt that correctly...empirical PROOF. Not the bible told me so, not my next door neighbour said, not "it's on the internet."

    May 8, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. Merky Waters

    If marriage was just a civil ceramony, then there would be no discussion here and civil unions would suffice. Marriage, is not just a legal, civil ceremony, it is a religious ceremony and should never have been brought into the debate. We now bastardize the reality of marriage by calling any legal contract between two people a marriage regardless of who is asking to be married. This is not marriage. Marriage is a religious entity. A real entity that we feel through the commitment and demand of fidelity because it is rooted not in our needs, but in "dare I say it" God's will. That is found through religious experience and study of the situation and not through the desire and will of those involved. True marriage is not willed, it is accepted and adored because it fulfills and fortifies the persons involved. So 50-70% of civil unions that people enter today do fall apart because the are not marriages. Because we do not know how to get married and stay that way, we have lost our belief in the transcendence of marriage leaving us with the squabbles over the crumbs of civil romances and govermental freebies. Sad state... Lisence does not bring freedom, rather individual tyrants with their own demands.

    May 8, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. sam stone

    too bad the same doesn't apply to you, Harley

    May 8, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. NotGayButVeryHappy

    If gay were from genes, then more sets of identical twins would be either both gay or both straight. Simple science. Gay isn't from genes.

    May 8, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  15. sam stone

    "God hav EVERYTHING to do with marriage."

    You can get legally married without input from "god"

    You cannot get legally married without input from the state

    Looks like the state is what controls in this situation

    Whether you like it or not

    May 8, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  16. Al-NY,NY


    The Southern Poverty Law Center is a hate group.

    they hate people like you................ignoramouses

    May 8, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  17. Zebula

    Sounds to me like Mr. Brown is genderless, if you know what I mean.

    May 8, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  18. ryan d

    ridiculous. genetics is not "simple science" and you have no grasp on it obviously. look up epigenetics and educate yourself .

    May 8, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  19. really


    Not simple science. They share the same genetics, but not the same gene activity. Read up on Methylation.

    May 8, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  20. Crockett

    I hear that after same sex marriage, the next big thing will be "throuples." Three people of any gender will want to marry in order to achieve equality under the law. Perhaps that will be followed by marriage to animals, inanimate objects, and supernatural entities.

    May 8, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  21. Blake

    Marriage is the union of two single people; no one is "redefining" anything. If it needs defining, call it whatever pleases you. Same-sex marriage doesn't affect opposite sex marriage, so I don't see the big deal. If you don't like same-sex marriage, then don't marry someone of the same sex. Your marriage doesn't affect me, nor does mine affect you. What gay haters don't understand is that it is physcologically and physically impossible for gay people to have sex with the opposite sex. It just can't happen because it's as gross as some straight people think about gay sex. You just can't have sex with someone you are turned off by.

    You know those 26,000 cases of sexual assault in the military? Not one of them has reported that any gay people were involved. Gay people want only to be with other gay people – consenting ones at that. You never hear of a gay couple kidnapping anyone either.

    May 8, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  22. ryan d

    @merky waters
    So if i marriage is inherently a religious ceremony (I'm reading that as "christian ceremony"), then did people not get married before your cult existed? I do believe that marriage pre-dates every religion. On that note, did everyone born before your 'savior' died go to hell for not believing in him?

    May 8, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  23. rabbitcommarogerindyreader

    Merky Waters – civil marriage and your church's Holy Matrimony are already – and always have been – two separate things. You can get either one without the other. It's just been a nicety that the government allows churches – "by the power vested in them by the state" – to take care of the civil paperwork at the same time as the ceremony. There are still civil forms involved – I've signed some of them myself. Really, it's a nice example of the government being flexible and allowing some efficiency to happen. And no one's talking about taking that efficiency away. The down-side is, there are apparently a lot of people like you who simply can't be arsed to understand that first fundamental concept, that even though they get talked about as one and the same, civil marriage and holy matrimony are two separate things. I see no reason for the law to bend over backwards to accommodate that weak-mindedness.

    May 8, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  24. Ohioan

    Won't be long before science will help us detect the gay defect in the womb so that gay babies could be promptly aborted. Then we don't have to worry about these s0d0mites corrupting our children.

    May 8, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  25. Nope

    Merk Waters, the concept of marriage was initiated long before Christianity emerged. How can you claim to "own" marriage when it predates your antiquated religion?

    May 8, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
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