Marriage Equality USA

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State of Delaware
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Current Status

  • Civil marriage equality in effect at the state level since 2013. (Same-sex couples may legally marry.)

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

  • Delaware provided civil unions to same-sex couples 2011-2014.
  • On 7 May 2013, State Senator Karen Peterson came out as a lesbian during the debate on the Delaware Civil Marriage Equality and Religious Freedom Act of 2013, becoming the state's first-ever openly LGBTQ legislator.
  • All same-sex Civil Unions were converted to marriages by 1 July 2014.

Legislation - Pending

None.

Legislation - Enacted

HB 75 AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 13 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO DOMESTIC RELATIONS TO PROVIDE FOR SAME-GENDER CIVIL MARRIAGE AND TO CONVERT EXISTING CIVIL UNIONS TO CIVIL MARRIAGES

Author/Sponsor: Rep. M. Smith & Rep. Schwartzkopf & Rep. Longhurst & Sen. Sokola & Sen. Blevins, Reps. Barbieri, Baumbach, Bolden, Brady, Heffernan, Keeley, Kowalko, Mulrooney, Osienski, Ramone, B. Short, Viola, D.E. Williams, K. Williams; Sens. McDowell, Peterson, Poore, Townsend
Date Introduced: April 2013
Date Enacted: 7 May 2013

Description:

The title of the act says it all - AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 13 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO DOMESTIC RELATIONS TO PROVIDE FOR SAME-GENDER CIVIL MARRIAGE AND TO CONVERT EXISTING CIVIL UNIONS TO CIVIL MARRIAGES

The Delaware Civil Union and Equality Act

Author/Sponsor: Sens. David P. Sokola and Melanie George
Date Introduced: March 2011
Date Enacted: Signed 11 May 2011, took effect 1 January 2012

Description:

  • A bill to allow civil unions in Delaware.
  • At the signing Gov. Markell said, “Tonight, with the signing of this law, we say to any Delawarean, regardless of sexual orientation, if you have committed yourself to somebody, and you've made that pledge to spend your life together in partnership, your love is equally valid and deserving, your family is now equal under the law.”

Lawsuits - Pending

None.

Lawsuits - Resolved

None.

Ballot Initiatives - Pending

None.

Ballot Initiatives - Passed

None.

Polls

  • 4 March 2013, a poll commissioned by Equality Delaware and performed by Global Strategy Group, showed 54% of those surveyed supported passing a marriage equality bill in Delaware. Press Release
  • 6 March 2011, a poll by Lake Research Partners showed that 62% in Delaware favor allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions, while 31% were opposed, and 7% were not sure. Poll details.
  • 9 February 2011, a Public Policy poll found that a plurality (48%) of respondents favored “Delaware allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into same-sex marriages,” while an additional 5% were “not sure.” Just 16% were “somewhat opposed,” with a further 31% “strongly opposed.” News Source