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. leni

    They're already looking at plural marriage in The Netherlands...

    May 8, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. TheREAList

    Marriage is a holy union between a MAN and WOMAN. How can two woman or two man had a successful marriage before GOD. God has ordained certain responsibilities to both the man and his wife. That only a MAN and a WOMAN can fulfill. It wasn't until the mids 1900s were marriage licenses were even required to validate a 'marriage'.

    May 8, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  3. Sandy

    @Truth, Rome disappeared soon after accepting Christianity. Gibbon had a field day with this, btw.

    May 8, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. Leonore H. Dvorkin

    To all you right-wing, Bible-thumping, fearful haters out there: Just imagine that we lived in a world in which the majority of people were homosexual, and that heterosexuality was a rarity. Then YOUR way of life, your sexuality, your natural inclinations, might be considered a "perversion." What would you then think of laws trying to keep you from marrying? You would no doubt fight them tooth and nail. FYI: No one "chooses" to be gay vs. straight. You just are what you are. Think for a minute: When did you CHOOSE to be heterosexual? You didn't. You just are. So please try to develop some tolerance and understanding, and stop standing in the way of other people's happiness and security. Also, gay marriage means a financial windfall for any state that legalizes it. There are lots more weddings taking place now and that will take place in the future in those enlightened states.

    May 8, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  5. Neal

    I agree Desert 1......being politically correct has ruined this country. We are too busy not trying to piss people off that we are eroding from within. The media plays a big role in this. Politics and court systems are becoming a joke.

    May 8, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  6. Haha

    Religious Conservative states are doing awesome! If you love being on welfare and full of hatred towards minorities.

    May 8, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  7. b

    Slippery slope arguments always fail. If you can't argue against gay marriage on its own, and without citing God, then you have no argument. If two gay people get married, it will not affect my or any other hetero marriages whatsoever. Is homosexuality abnormal? Sure. So is blindness, deafness, and many other conditions. That doesn't mean they shouldn't be able to get married. Live and let live.

    May 8, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  8. Kip Oliver

    For fhose of you casting the first many of you are without sin? How many of you were virgins (both male and female) when you married? How many of you eat ham or bacon? (Leviticus 11:7-8 – swine – of the flesh you shall not eat as it is unclean). How many of you good Christians have tattoos? Read up on Leviticus 19:28 – not allowed. How about the one just before that, Leviticus 19:27 – no rounded haircuts or beards? Been to a psychic? Not on God's watch you better not have! Spread any rumors or Gossip? Leviticus 19:16 tells you that does not please God. Ladies, ever help out your hubby in a fight by grabbing the other dude's..."secrets"? Go confess your sin and allow your pastor to cut off your hand! Parents – have your kids spewed curse words at you? According to Exodus 21:17 – you need to put them to death. Mark 10: 11-12 says that if you divorce and's adultry. Go to work on a Sunday? You need to be put to death. Women are commanded to be silent in church and submit to obedience. Don't eat seafood either... Now, if you Good and Faithful Christians tell me that "times have changed" then tell me why it's OK to change and not follow these laws of God and stick to others? Either God's Word is absolute and is followed no matter what the times dictate, or all of God's Words can be changed to fit the new, modern times. So before you thump that Bible as your excuse for your hatred, ask yourself this: am I without sin so I can cast the first stone? Non-virgin? Divorced? Ate a ham sandwich? No. You are not without sin. The Faithful should follow ALL of God's laws, not just the ones they like.

    May 8, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  9. Hillcrester

    Dr. Tim–I do not know the factual answer to your specific query about DE, but in general laws allowing SSM do not require proof of sexual preference. Hence, in those states ANY two men or ANY two women are permitted to marry, even if both are hetero. It is Same Sex Marriage, not Gay Marriage.u

    May 8, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  10. RJW


    So don't marry a gay couple in your church. It's really that simple. The state doesn't approve "holy matrimony." It grants a license to get married. It's really that simple. If you don't like it and if you don't think God likes it then fine. You are entitled to that belief. But don't throw God out there as an excuse because God is irrelevant in the discussion of government recognition of marriage.

    May 8, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  11. Jim

    "That means that anyone who cannot accept this radical and flawed change to marriage is going to be subjected to punishment." – Brian Brown, President of NOM.

    Okay, so that "punishment" would be....?????

    May 8, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. Sam

    I have a feel the current naysayers would have been against the bi-racial marriages few decades back.
    No one is changing anyones religion here, just the law. Let's not impart religous beliefs in the law of the land since as per the constitution the SHOULD be kept separate.

    May 8, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  13. Jim

    @ theREAList – You should keep up with your current events. Marriage is not only just between one MAN and one WOMAN in 11 STATES now. Have you been living under a rock? Also, you are missing a very large point. There are two types of marriage, if you will. One is CIVIL marriage. The other is the SACRAMENT of marriage. No one is forcing the Church to perform same-sex marriage. This is all about civil marriage, not the Sacrament. Civil marriage has nothing to do with God, the Bible, Church, etc. It has to do with equal treatment and due process under the 14th Amendment, for law-abiding, tax-paying, American citizens. Get your facts straight!!!

    May 8, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  14. Lets get this going

    Can't wait to have it universally passed across all 50 so we can move onto things that should actually be discusses.

    This is an abomination that homosexuals are still having rights withheld in a country that is supposed to be equal.

    May 8, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  15. TheREAList

    Beginning of the End of Mankind..

    Leonore H. Dvorkin
    ......Just imagine that we lived in a world in which the majority of people were homosexual, and that heterosexuality was a rarity...

    May 8, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  16. Matt

    39 more to go!

    May 8, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  17. Hillcrester

    REAList–there was no god involved in my marriage 35+ years ago at the Courthouse. The religious aspects of marriage, where relevant, are within the purview of churches, etc., and the civil aspects belong to the state. You know that many churches perform SSM ceremonies, even of most do not. Your religious brethren do not all agree with you.

    May 8, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. Gregg 3Gs

    There is still a majority of states that have enshrined marriage as a union between one man and one woman in their state constitutions. If the majority rules then there should be no gay marriage. In any event, a state that does not wish to recognize same-sex marriages should not be compelled to do so.

    May 8, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  19. Hillcrester

    Jim–What is NOM?

    May 8, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. Bryan

    Funny....all states that rank at or near the type in educational surprise there.

    May 8, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  21. Chris

    Marriage is, and always has been, a secular institution intended to unite families and protect property. Until very recently, they were not performed by the church, and when they did, they were exclusively for the monarchy to retain the primacy of the church over the king. Even in the bible, the Christ attended one wedding, at which he did not officiate, but he did bring the wine. I would point out that to get a divorce, you don't see a priest, you see a judge to carve up the joint assets. Again – secular.

    May 8, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  22. Jake

    "By the power vested in my by the state of ..." tells you all you need to know. God and religion do not inherently have anything to do with marriage. Gay marriage is and always has been a civil and societal issue. I'm not sure how people can argue against equality. If you're adamantly against gay marriage it's probably because you're still stuck in the small town in which you were born and you don't have much of a world perspective. Get outside. Travel. Be open-minded. Listen. Learn. And LOVE! Gay marriage objectors are going to look like the fools who marched around with anti-segregation signs 50 years ago.

    May 8, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  23. FrankA

    @Kip: Before you go making judgements about the Bible or those of us who believe in it, you need to know what your talking about.

    May 8, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  24. Satch99

    Slowly dragging conservatives into the future, Kicking and Screaming.

    All you conservatives:
    No, those women were not withces,
    No, the earth is not flat,
    No, Lighting is just electricity not an angry God,
    No, a good harvest comes from the right amount of water, sun, and good soil, not human or animal sacrficies.

    You i**ots are holding back human progress with your opprressive, corrupt and false institution

    May 8, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  25. Brian

    The National Organization for Marriage, of which Brian Brown is president, is an officially designated hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (the national organization that has identified and tracked hate groups for decades). Some opinions, such as Mr. Brown's and those of other hate group leaders, do not deserve equal time and consideration. They should not be quoted or featured on CNN in any way.

    May 8, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
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