Delaware is now the 11th state in the United States to approve same-sex marriage after a bill was put in place on Tuesday. The State Senate passed the new law by a 12-9 vote which ended with hundreds of supporters cheering in the streets.
Governor Jack Markell, a Democrat, signed the bill into law shortly after the vote and he had a message for the supporters outside, according to the Associated Press.
“I do not intend to make any of you wait one moment longer,” Markell told the jubilant crowd. “Delaware should be, is and will be a welcoming place to live and love and to raise a family for all who call our great state home.”
The bill made its way to the state Senate after passing by a vote of 23-18 in the state House two weeks ago. The same-sex marriage bill was originally introduced nearly a year after Delaware began recognizing same-sex civil unions.
The new law won’t make many changes to an already accepted same-sex civil union, but it does give the married couples a sense of pride and dignity that they didn’t have before. Gov. Jack Markell summed up the accomplishment in a perfect statement.
“Today, we wrote a new chapter in our history and proved, once again, justice and equality continue to move forward in Delaware,” Markell said after the bill’s signing.
All existing same-sex civil unions will be converted to marriages over the next year as a new chapter begins in Delaware. The state will also accept same-sex civil unions from couples outside of Delaware as marriages under the new law.
The United States is now one step closer to equality for all gay and lesbian Americans, but there is a lot more work to do as only a handful of states have accepted same-sex marriage.
Here is a list of the other ten states, along with Delaware, that allow same-sex marriage: Rhode Island, Iowa, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Washington and the District of Columbia.