- Health, Wellness & Sports
- Equality Directory
DOVER, Dela. -- Delaware lawmakers late Thursday approved a bill legalizing civil unions.
Gov. Jack Markell has said he will sign the bill
After the Senate voted 13-6 to pass the bill, the House voted 26-15 to approve civil unions.
"Today, we celebrate a victory for all Delaware families who will have the tools to protect themselves in good times and in bad," said Joe Solomonese, Human Rights Campaign president.
"We look forward to Gov. Markell signing this bill into law and thank Sen. Sokola and Rep. George for their leadership on this bill, and Equality Delaware for their tireless dedication."
Lisa Goodman, president of Equality Delaware, was pleased.
"The fact that the Delaware General Assembly passed civil union legislation on the first attempt is a great testament to how far public opinion has come on equality issues," Goodman said.
The bill will allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions giving them all of the rights, benefits, and obligations of marriage under state law, but would not allow same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses. Religious institutions may choose not to solemnize civil unions.
The new law, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, will make Delaware the eighth state to offer civil unions or comprehensive domestic partnerships for same-sex couples, the HRC said. The others are California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington. Couples in Illinois can begin applying for civil union licenses on June 1, and Hawaii's law takes effect on January
Same-sex couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state. For an electronic map showing where marriage equality stands in the states, visit HERE.