by David Cohen
Bill Providing Critical Family Protections Moves to Governor Who Has Pledged to Sign
The Human Rights Campaign and Equality Delaware, Delaware’s statewide coalition of LGBT advocates, congratulates the Delaware House for passing civil unions by an 26 to 15 vote. The bill now goes to Governor Markell for his signature.
“Today, we celebrate a victory for all Delaware families who will have the tools to protect themselves in good times and in bad,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “We look forward to Governor Markell signing this bill into law and thank Senator Sokola and Representative George for their leadership on this bill, and Equality Delaware for their tireless dedication.”
“We are tremendously proud that the Delaware House as passed civil union legislation,” said Equality Delaware President Lisa Goodman. “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. This is a great day for equality in Delaware.”
SB 30 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.
Delaware will be the 8th state to offer civil unions or comprehensive domestic partnerships. After the bill is signed into law, it will take effect on Jan. 1, 2012. Currently, five states have laws providing an expansive form of state-level relationship recognition for gay and lesbian couples, without offering marriage. California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington provide same-sex couples with access to almost of all the state level benefits and responsibilities of marriage, through either civil unions or domestic partnerships. Earlier this year, the governors of Hawaii and Illinois signed into law civil unions bills. Couples in Illinois can begin applying for civil union licenses on June 1, 2011 and in Hawaii couples can begin applying on Jan. 1, 2012.
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, please visit: www.HRC.org/State_Laws.
Source: Press Release