By a vote of 26-15, the Delaware state House passed the Civil Unions bill which now heads to the desk of Governor Markell, a gay rights champion, who has indicated he plans to sign the bill into law.
The bill, which passed the state Senate 13-6 last week, survived nine amendment attempts.
From the Human Rights Campaign: SB 30 will 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.
“We are tremendously proud that the Delaware House has passed civil union legislation,” said Equality Delaware President Lisa Goodman. “The fact that the Delaware General Assembly passed civil union legislation on the first attempt is a great testament to how far public opinion has come on equality issues. This is a great day for equality in Delaware.”
With Markell’s signature, the bill will take effect Jan. 1. It will make Delaware the eighth state to establish civil unions or domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. Five other states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage.