Press Room

March 21, 2011

Category: Civil Unions

Delaware Senate Introduces Civil Unions Bill

Proposed law would provide same-sex couples with vital protections

WASHINGTON - Today, The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, and Equality Delaware, Delaware's statewide coalition of LGBT advocates, praised the Delaware Senate for introducing a comprehensive civil unions bill.

"Today, members of the Delaware Senate have put forth a solid plan for providing critical benefits to same-sex couples and their children," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "Now is the time to treat all Delaware families with equality and we call on the Delaware legislature to swiftly pass the civil unions bill."

"EQDE is proud to have worked with the sponsors of this bill to get to today," said Equality Delaware President Lisa Goodman. "We believe that the time has come in Delaware for civil unions and that this bill will become law this year."

SB 30, was introduced by Senator David Sokola & Representative Melanie George. The bill would 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.

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.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

Equality Delaware is a coalition of Delaware advocates working to ensure and promote dignity, safety, and equality for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Delawareans.

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