Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
by Rex Wockner
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell signed the state’s civil-union bill into law May 11 at World Cafe Live at The Queen theater in Wilmington.
“Tonight we say to loving and committed couples across the state who want the law to endorse the promise they made long ago in their hearts, ‘Your love is equally valid and deserving, your family is now equal under the law,'” Markell said. “And tonight we say to children of gay and lesbian parents in committed relationships – and there are so many wonderful kids growing up in those families all over our state – that it doesn’t matter if your parents are gay or straight. The people you love and look up to and that are dedicating their lives and love to raising you – those are your parents. You are a family. And while we’ve known it, and you’ve known it for years, tonight that equality becomes real under law.”
In April, the Senate passed the bill 13-6 and the House of Representatives passed it 25-16.
The law grants same-sex couples the state-level rights, benefits and obligations of marriage, and recognizes same-sex civil unions and marriages from other states, treating them as Delaware civil unions.
Seven other states have similar laws, and five states and Washington, D.C., let same-sex couples marry. Five additional states recognize people married in other states and countries as married.
Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. Same-sex marriages from elsewhere are recognized as marriages in Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island and California (if the marriage took place before Proposition 8 passed).
The states with civil-union laws that grant all marriage rights are California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington. The Hawaii and Illinois laws were passed recently and have not come into force. Five other states have gay-union laws that extend some rights of marriage: Colorado, Hawaii (an older law), Maine, Maryland and Wisconsin.
The situation in California is unusual. Same-sex marriage was legal from June to November 2008, when voters amended the state constitution via Proposition 8 to put a stop to it. The couples who married then are still legally married, as are other same-sex couples who live in California and got married anywhere in the world before Prop 8 passed. Gay couples who married somewhere else after Prop 8 passed, or who marry elsewhere in the future, receive every state-level right and obligation of marriage in California except for the legal right to call their marriage a “marriage” when they are in California. They are not recognized under the state’s domestic partnership law, but rather are married couples who are denied use of the word “marriage.”