Delaware Senate Passes Civil Unions Bill

by HRC Staff

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, applauds the Delaware Senate for passing a civil unions bill by a 13 to 6 vote. The bill now goes to the Delaware House of Representatives for consideration.

"Today, we applaud the Delaware Senate for valuing all Delaware families," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "We call on the Delaware House to swiftly send the bill to Governor Markell for his signature."

"We are delighted by today's Senate vote and look forward to strong support from our sponsors in the House," said Equality Delaware President Lisa Goodman.

SB 30, was introduced by Senator David Sokola and 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:

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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