Delaware To Become 8th State To Legalize Civil Unions For Same-Sex Couples

Yesterday, in a vote of 26 to 15, the Delaware state house approved S.B. 30, a bill that would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions. The measure passed the Senate last week and now goes to Gov. Jack Markell (D), who has pledged to sign it. Proponents of the bill defeated nine amendments, before holding a final vote which elicited applause and cries of “thank you” from supporters gathered in the chamber. Listen:

“Parties who enter into a lawful civil union in Delaware, or whose legal union is recognized as a civil union under Delaware law, will have all of the same rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities as married persons under Delaware law,” the measure says. It will go into effect January 1.

Delaware will become the eighth state to offer civil unions or domestic partnerships to same-sex couples. Illinois and Hawaii enacted civil union legislation earlier this year and the recognition is also available in California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in five states, plus the District of Columbia.

A recent poll found that more than six out of ten Delaware voters — 62% — support civil unions.