Divided Delaware approves gay marriage
WILMINGTON, Del. — Delaware became the 11th state to legalize same-sex marriage after a lengthy debate Tuesday in the state Senate and the surprise votes of two lawmakers.
A half-hour after the 12-9 Senate vote, Gov. Jack Markell signed the legislation into law on the main stairs in the lobby of Legislative Hall.
Democratic Sen. Bethany Hall-Long and Republican Sen. Catherine Cloutier provided the swing votes in favor of the legislation. Cloutier was the lone Republican yes vote in the Senate and one of two in the General Assembly as a whole.
According to the bill, Delawareans will be able to enter into same-sex marriages effective July 1. The law provides a mechanism for converting same-sex civil unions established in Delaware to marriages.
“I think this is the right thing for Delaware,” Markell said after the vote, while posing for pictures with supporters outside his legislative office. “It took an incredible team effort.”
Gay rights activists and their supporters in the chamber erupted in cheers after the vote.
Delaware's same-sex marriage bill was introduced in the Democrat-controlled Legislature last month, barely a year after the state began recognizing same-sex civil unions. The bill won passage two weeks ago in the state House on a 23-18 vote.
While it doesn't give same-sex couples any more rights or benefits under Delaware law than those they have in civil unions, supporters argued same-sex couples deserve the dignity and respect of married couples. They noted that if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which bars married gay couples from receiving federal benefits, civil unions would not provide protections or tax benefits under federal law to same-sex couples in Delaware.
Opponents, including scores of conservative religious leaders from across the state, argued same-sex marriage redefines and destroys a centuries-old institution that is a building block of society.
Under the bill, no 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 states that same-sex unions established in other states will be treated the same as marriages under Delaware law.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Diplomats report progress in U.S.-Cuba talks, which will continue
- 28 evacuated as fire hits oil platform off Louisiana coast
- Senate still works on NSA proposal as deadline nears
- Obama reaches out to Jewish community
- Senate OKs fast-track trade bill sought by Obama
- As oil production soars, so do pipeline leaks
- Couple pleads not guilty in Kentucky bourbon thefts
- Police officials rethink approach to training
- D.C. mansion murder suspect had help, police say
- Giant hole forms near golf course
- Coal’s worst fears affirmed in analysis of Obama climate plan