Delaware Makes Best Civil Unions Ever Happen

Oh, Delaware, sweet sweet Delaware, land of all the companies I owe money to who periodically send me mail to remind me of this fact! I don’t know much else about you Delaware.

Like five years ago this guy I knew in New York left his wife and she went to Delaware to be with her sister and Have Feelings, and I remember thinking that was the first time in my life I’d heard of a person living in Delaware.

But perhaps you live in Delaware and are upset I just said that I didn’t know of anyone living in Delaware besides Joe Biden and my friend’s ex-wife’s sister and Visa.

Do you live in Delaware? Well, if you do, then you’re in luck [yes the informational part of the article is actually starting here, I’m no longer talking about myself] because starting in January 2012, Delaware will become the eighth state to let gay people get to third base, otherwise known as “civil unions.” The vote passed 26 to 15 and Governor Jack Markell intends to sign the legislation.

At The Huffington Post, HRC Prez Joe Solmonese, everyone’s favorite e-mail buddy, interviews Lisa Goodman from Equality Delaware about this historic occurrence. Basically these people made Civil Unions Delaware 2011 happen in about four months.

Joe: Why did you pursue civil unions instead of marriage?

Lisa: We carefully considered this question, and it was not a decision we made lightly. We spent a lot of time discussing the issue and looking at efforts – both successful and unsuccessful – in other states. We analyzed our projected vote count and concluded that we had the votes to pass a civil union bill. We were clear that we did not have the votes to pass a marriage bill. The civil union bill that we drafted (and passed!) provides for all of the protections, benefits, and obligations of marriage that are available under Delaware law. We were keenly aware that same-sex couples in Delaware need these protections now, and we were able to secure them through this legislation.

The Delaware bill is the only one in the country that will also provide protections for civil unionized couples who leave the state. Goodman explained why this is such a problem in other states — “couples who move to a state that does not recognize their marriage or civil union cannot dissolve that relationship. Without this provision, couples must otherwise remain in an unhappy civil union or move to a jurisdiction that will dissolve it. We hope this provision will become a model for civil union legislation in other states.”

This bill also protects civil unions between straight people because not everything is all about us, unfortunately.

Here is a heartwarming video where the people of Delaware celebrate their good fortune:

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

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  1. Yay Delaware!

    I knew a girl in college from Delaware, I only remember this because we had the same name and people would confuse us and think I was the one from Delaware.

  2. You guys are missing out, Delaware has a great gay beach town called Rehobeth and there are lots of smart ladies from DC and Dogfish Head beer and rainbows. You should come visit.

    • I was raised in Rehoboth!! Can’t believe my hometown is in the news for something this good!

      • My family goes on vacation in Rehoboth every summer! I love it because my extended family is über-conservative but they inexplicably pick a massively gay beach town to go on vacation at. Last year my mom felt bad for me being closeted to my grandparents, so she took me to a gay bookstore that she didn’t realize was about 80% gay men’s erotica. Hilariously awkward mother-daughter bonding ensued.

        My point is, I love Rehoboth and good for Delaware!

        • I’ve been going to Rehoboth for all my 19 years. My dad’s been going for longer.

          Funland is the shit. Grottos. Dolly’s. Annie’s Banana-thing.

          Oh, and civil unions kick ass too. But do they have skee-ball?

          • You guys, so much Rehoboth love! It’s making me smile.

            And yes, Peri, it’s a really weird dynamic of a large LGBT community and an extremely conservative hetero population. Too bad my family is in the conservative camp!

          • I’ve visited my grandparents up there every summer since I was a baby! Whenever I tell people I’m going to Delaware, they ask what state it’s in ._.

            Funland and Grotto’s Pizza will forever be my favorite places.

  3. I went to college in Delaware–it’s a funny little place!
    Mmm Dogfish Head! I also miss Iron Hill Brewery!

    Sadly, there’s little-to-no gay scene around the university, and Rehoboth is hoppin in the summer time, but otherwise there’s little to do down in ‘slower-lower,’ where the chicken-to-human and confederate flag-to-windshield ratios are far too high for my comfort.

  4. I grew up in Delaware and this information is surprising to me, since I associate the state more with Winterthur, polydactyly as the result of Dupont inbreeding, and chemicals than progressive political activity.

  5. when i think delaware, i think of that picture of george washington crossing the delaware river in that boat with all those men. yup, pretty gay.

  6. I love Delaware! Also, if you are from Philly (and queer) you know all about “Rehomo” aka Rehobeth. Full of fun gay parties and sexy ladies in the summer. Now they can go get drunk and civil unionized in their bikinis. Gay Vegas anyone?

  7. We’d play this game in high school where you’d put your hand on someone’s knee and they’d have to guess what state you were thinking of. Every time they guessed wrong you moved your hand up. I’d always choose Delaware. No one EVER suspects Delaware. Have fun at your next part.

    • I adore the idea that no one ever suspects Delaware. (True, though. I remember going to a Phillies game as a kid, where a girl I met didn’t believe DE was a state. She lived 20 minutes from us.)

      SO strange to have hometown pride, and to get to hear my home accent associated with such good things. While I got up in my brother’s face about the civil union thing a bit (he was all ‘yay!’ and I had to remind him that union =/= marriage part of things), it’s great that they *did* push for the goal they knew they could achieve. Here’s hoping that it just normalizes us for the rest of the state, and marriage can follow in a few years.

  8. i went to college in delaware! this makes me happy to hear. living in philly, delaware is only 15 minutes south of here so hopefully they can send some of that progessive legislature over to pennsylvania :-/

  9. It’s unbelievable to me that the civil union option is so contentious. It’s so prejudicial to many people in our society and it offends me when people wish to have laws restricting the opportunities to some but not all.

  10. Obviously NC should have taken their lead from Delaware. It never ceases to amaze me that a majority of people can strip the rights from a minority like that.

  11. Maybe not everybody is happy about it and depending on one’s view about gay marriage, Delaware may be in for some comments both negative and positive with regard to this. That is if it has not started yet.

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