Just last Friday we learned that the state of Rhode Island became the 10th state in the United States of America to legalize same-sex marriage and today we learn that just last night, Delaware became the 11th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Just days after the RI legislature passed their bill and Governor Lincoln Chafee signed it into law, the DE legislature followed suit last night. Delaware Governor Jack Markell wasted NO TIME signing that state’s bill into law, bringing the total states to enjoy marriage equality to 11! Happy, Happy Day!!
Delaware on Tuesday became the 11th state to permit same-sex marriage, the latest in a string of victories for those working to extend marital rights to gay and lesbian couples. The marriage bill passed the State Senate by a vote of 12 to 9 Tuesday afternoon. “It’s a great day in Delaware,” said Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat, who signed it within minutes of passage before an overjoyed crowd of activists. “I am signing this bill now because I do not intend to make any of you wait one moment longer.” Same-sex couples will be eligible for marriage licenses on July 1. Adoption of same-sex marriage by Delaware came just five days after a similar decision in Rhode Island and followed ballot-box victories last fall in Maine, Maryland and Washington. During three hours of emotional debate preceding the vote Tuesday, State Senator Karen Peterson, a Democrat, said that she had lived with a female partner for 24 years, and she challenged those who opposed extending marriage to gay couples. “If my happiness somehow demeans or diminishes your marriage, then you need to work on your marriage,” she said, eliciting cheers and laughter … In Maine, Maryland and Washington in November, same-sex marriage won in state referendums for the first time. In eight other states, now including Delaware, and in the District of Columbia it has been adopted by legislatures or required by court decisions. Public opinion on the issue is shifting quickly, with polls showing that a majority of Americans now support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. “The momentum continues,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, a New York-based advocacy group that aided the campaign in Delaware. Gay rights groups are hopeful that same-sex marriage will pass soon in Minnesota, where House members are expected to consider it later this week, and in Illinois, where the Senate has approved a bill but a vote has not been scheduled in the House.
The forward march of progress continues here in the US … slowly but VERY surely. The New England portion of the country — the oldest states in the union, the states that led the charge for the founding of our great nation — are once again leading the US toward full equal treatment for all. We now look to the Midwest portion of the country where Minnesota and Illinois take up the charge for marriage equality. Things may look like they are progressing quickly, what with so many states legalizing same-sex marriage in a short amount of time, but we still have a LONG way to go before we can say that the US is truly free. The Supreme Court is unlikely to legalize same-sex marriage for the entire country when it offers it’s rulings in June but as each state legalizes the practice, the tipping point grows ever closer to that eventual goal. We will get there, we will see that day. Last night, Delaware took us one step closer to that grand day. Thank you Delaware for doing your duty for our country.