In a low-key legislative session that almost slipped under the media’s radar on Tuesday, the Delaware Senate voted 12-9 to approve a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state. Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat, signed the bill minutes after its passage. Delaware becomes the 11th state, after Rhode Island last week, to make marriage equality the law.
The state had enacted civil unions in January 2012, giving gay and lesbian couples the same state rights given to married heterosexual couples but withholding the term “marriage.” Same-sex couples will be able to marry starting July 1, and those already in civil unions will have their unions converted to marriages.
“We are living in times of historic change,” said Jane Wishon, Marriage Equality USA Board Member. “Right after Rhode Island became the 10th marriage equality state, Delaware has become the 11th–the entire nation is now watching to see just how quickly Illinois, Minnesota, or one of the many other states moving forward will become number 12.”