Delaware legalizes civil unions

By Freedom to Marry's New Media Intern Joe Girton.
On Thursday, Delaware made strides towards eliminating marriage discrimination, passing a bill legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples. Several amendments to the bill that would have hampered its efficacy were defeated, and it was passed with a large bipartisan majority. This brings Delaware to the same level as its neighbor, New Jersey, and ahead of New York State, where we hope to end marriage discrimination this year. 

What does this mean? On a basic level, this law will make it infinitely easier for couples to access many of the legal protections of marriage. Of course this is positive step towards marriage, and will improve quality of life for many Delawarean couples. But, civil unions just aren’t marriage. 

How do you explain to your child that you and daddy aren’t husband and husband? Civil unions don’t grant the dignity and recognition that marriage confers. 

Doug Napier, an attorney for the ambiguously named Christian group Alliance Defense Fund and an opponent of the measure, warned us after its passage: “Don’t be deceived. This bill is a precursor to same-sex marriage.” Let’s hope so. At the very least, we can be certain that new conversations will be had as support for marriage (already at a majority) grows. In the mere year since Equality Delaware, which drafted the civil union bill, was formed, the state has come leaps and bounds in the right direction. 

Let’s take that success and move forward from here. There’s still a lot of work to be done.