Delaware’s Senate passed marriage equality with a 12-9 vote on Tuesday late afternoon. The first marriages will be July 1.
House Bill 75 was passed by the House on April 23 by a vote of 23 – 18.
Governor Jack Markell, also a Democrat, had already promised to sign the bill into law when it passed the Senate.
“We’re very, very close,” CAMP Rehoboth Community Center Board of Directors president Murray Archibald told 429Magazine ahead of the vote.
“We think we have the votes in the Senate… and any minute they could call and say it’s gone through. It’s very exciting.”
And it was as the state became the 11th in the United States to pass marriage equality.
Delaware has allowed same-sex civil unions since 2011, and HB 75 has provisions for converting such into full civil marriage. The passage of the bill also means Delaware would cease to offer civil unions.
Like many other equality marriage bills, HB 75 contains language to ensure religious groups aren’t legally obligated to perform same-sex marriages, and can’t be sued for discrimination if they refuse to.
The vote came only days after Rhode Island became the 10th state to legalize full marriage equality, with its first same-sex marriages scheduled for August 1.
Minnesota’s Senate is preparing to send their own marriage equality bill off for debate, and it could be voted on as soon as this week.