Delaware passes same-sex marriage bill
Delaware has become the 11th state to allow same-sex marriage, it was a tough battle but the state senate has passed a bill that will allow same-sex marriage. After three hours of debate the bill left the state senate and right on to Democratic Governor Jack Markell’s desk.
An hour had not passed when Governor Markell was sitting down and signing the marriage equality bill into law.
“I do not intend to make any of you wait one moment longer,” the governor said after the state senate vote.
The bill passed the state senate 12-9 before reaching Governor Markell.
Still, the bill that was passed today does not give same-sex couples any more rights or benefits under Delaware law than what they currently have with civil unions.
There are many supporters who just say that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same dignity and respect as their heterosexual counterparts.
Delaware first introduced their version of a same-sex marriage bill about a year ago and just two weeks ago the bill passed the house with a 23-18 vote.
Now, it is law and beginning July 1 gay and lesbian couples will no longer have civil unions performed but marriages. As for those couples who already have a civil union in place, their civil union will now be recognized as a marriage.
Also, for gay and lesbian couples who are married in other states, their marriage will be recognized according to Delaware law.
Today’s marriage equality bill that was passed does not force clerics to go against their beliefs. However, under Delaware law, businesses who refuse to provide marriage-related services to gay and lesbian couples for reasons of conscience could be subject to discrimination claims.
On Thursday Minnesota looks to be the next state to have a vote on marriage equality, as it’s house will vote on a same-sex marriage bill. If passed Minnesota’s state senate could have it’s vote on the bill as early as Saturday.