Delaware became the 11th state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage yesterday as Gov. Jack Markell signed a gay marriage bill into law just minutes after its passage by the state Senate.
“I do not intend to make any of you wait one moment longer,” Markell told a group of supporters following the 12-9 Senate vote only half an hour earlier.
“Delaware should be, is and will be a welcoming place to live and love and to raise a family for all who call our great state home,” Markell said.
Under the bill, no new civil unions will be performed in Delaware after July 1, and existing civil unions will be converted to marriages over the next year. The legislation also states that same-sex unions established in other states will be treated the same as marriages under Delaware law.
Lambda Legal, a national gay rights advocacy group, applauded passage of Delaware’s gay marriage bill.
Susan Sommer of Lamba Legal saluted Delaware for joining 10 other states who have legal marriage equality “Today, we celebrate with the thousands of Delaware same-sex couples and their children who will soon be able to have the full recognition and respect accorded to married families,” said Sommer.
Not all in Delaware were happy about the legislation including many in the Catholic Diocese.
“Let’s be careful about the concept of social evolution,” said the Rev. Leonard Klein, a Roman Catholic priest speaking on behalf of the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, which serves more than 200,000 Catholics in Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
“When you remove male and female from the definition of marriage, all bets are off,” added Klein.
Next up for marriage equality supporters looks to be Minnesota. A bill for marriage equality has already been endorsed by the governor and appears to have enough backing in both the Senate and the House.
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