On Tuesday, the Delaware Senate voted 12-9 to approve legislation to extend the freedom to marry to loving same-sex couples across the state. Two weeks ago, the Delaware House voted in favor of the bill, and Governor Jack Markell, a vocal supporter of the marriage bill, has promised to sign it into law. With Tuesday’s vote, Delaware is all but certain to be the eleventh state to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage.
Gov. Markell is expected to sign the bill into law immediately, and the bill will take effect on July 1, 2013.
Freedom to Marry's National Campaign Director Marc Solomon applauded the Senate vote today. “Today's historic vote makes Delaware the eleventh state across the United States where loving and committed couples can share in the joy and protections that marriage brings. As happy couples and their loved ones celebrate and prepare for the first weddings in Delaware—following the win in Rhode Island just a few days ago—this milestone sends yet another message to the Supreme Court that it's time for marriage for all Americans. Freedom to Marry is proud of its work with Equality Delaware to secure this victory, and we look forward to surging forward and continuing the momentum in Illinois and Minnesota later this month.’
Equality Delaware Foundation President Mark Purpura delivered moving testimony during the floor debate. He said, "We're looking for the law of our state not to create a separate and unequal status based on the sexual orientation of a couple."
Lisa Goodman, president of Equality Delaware, the statewide organization that spearheaded the effort to pass marriage this year, also celebrated the culmination of the marriage campaign. “This is an historic day in Delaware,” said Goodman. “Delawareans of all backgrounds recognize that treating everyone fairly under the law is the right thing to do. Today our State Senate has joined our House of Representatives in voting to pass marriage equality. This law strengthens our families, strengthens our communities and makes Delaware an even better place to live and work. I couldn't be prouder to be a Delawarean than I am right now.”
This year, Freedom to Marry served as a lead partner on the Delaware campaign by providing strategic guidance and counsel on all aspects of the legislative campaign, in addition to managing the campaign's digital strategy. While leading Delaware's online campaign, Freedom to Marry helped identify over 6,000 online supporters and generated more than 5,500 emails to legislators. Freedom to Marry was the lead investor in the campaign, contributing nearly $200,000 to the effort in 2013.
While this victory is surely a moment to celebrate, we have so many more victories still to work toward: Same-sex couples are still denied the freedom to marry in 39 states. If you commit to standing with us in the coming weeks, we can win marriage in more states and end marriage discrimination once and for all.