Today the Senate of the fine state of Delaware, a state I know most intimately as the state where all the credit card companies are, passed legislation approving same-sex marriage, 12-9. Democratic Governor Jack Markell signed the bill into law today, and on July 1st all the homos will be permitted to get married, probably at a nice seaside ceremony on Rehoboth Beach.
When the Senate vote went through, the chamber “erupted in cheers and applause” at the prospect of Delaware becoming the 11th state to approve marriage equality. The same-sex marriage bill had been introduced in the Democrat-controlled legislature last month, where it won the House 23-18.
This all came to pass about a year after Delaware began recognizing same-sex civil unions, and although the marriage equality bill won’t actually grant couples more rights/benefits than civil unions did under state law, it’s still an important move for “dignity and respect.” Also, marriage does provide more benefits under federal law than civil unions do, which will matter as soon as the Supreme Court kicks the Defense of Marriage Act to the curb. All present civil unions will “convert” into marriages this year.
The debate today took about three hours, and included the testimony of State Senator Karen Peterson, who’s been living with her female partner for 24 years and justly pointed out that “If my relationship hurts your marriage, then you need to work on your marriage.” Senator Peterson hadn’t spoken openly about her relationship previous to today’s testimony.
Rhode Island just legalized same-sex marriage last week. We’re on a roll!