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Delaware legalizes gay marriage

Updated 6:30pm: The Delaware State Senate passed gay marriage legislation, HB 75, with bipartisan support after hours of debate. Governor Jack Markell signed the bill into law less than an hour later.

Same-sex couples can begin applying for marriage licenses on July 1st, which is before Rhode Island’s law takes effect. The law establishes procedures to convert civil unions in the state to civil marriages. Delaware is the home state of Vice President Joe Biden, another proponent of marriage equality, and with the Governor’s signature the First State officially became the 11th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

After signing the bill Gov. Markell said, “Today, we wrote a new chapter in our history and proved, once again, justice and equality continue to move forward in Delaware.” State Rep. Melanie George Smith, who introduced the bill along with Sen. David Sokola, echoed the sentiment: “In Delaware, we do what is right for our citizens. We don’t wait for other states. We don’t wait for the federal government. As legislators, we act right here in Delaware for our citizens.”

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