Same-sex couples all over the “DMV”—the Delaware, Maryland and Virginia region—have a reason to celebrate. On May 11, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell signed legislation legalizing civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, surrounded by his wife and 600 cheering supporters. The law goes into effect January 1, 2012. Delaware is the third state to legalize civil unions this year, following Illinois and Hawaii.
“It was clear that it was about rights, it was about opportunity and it was about time. It makes clear that if you’ve committed yourself to someone, and you’ve made that pledge to spend your life together in partnership, when life-or-death decisions come, we will respect your right to make those decisions together,” Markell said. “I congratulate everyone who worked so hard to make these rights real.”
LGBT and progressive groups praised the move. “This is a proud day for everyone in Delaware who values the ability of loving couples to take care of each other. Couples who make a life-long commitment to each other should be able to protect each other and their families, and this law makes that possible,” said Kathleen MacRae, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware.