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Delaware passes same-sex civil unions bill; Governor expected to sign into law

Delaware passes same-sex civil unions bill; Governor expected to sign into law

Delaware’s House of Representatives on Thursday evening passed a same-sex civil unions bill by a vote of 26-15.

The bill was previously approved in the state Senate just one week ago.

The bill, 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 them 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,” Goodman said.

The bill now goes to Gov. Jack Markell, who is expected to sign it into law. Once signed, it will take effect on Jan. 1, 2012.

“It’s time for this bill to pass. It’s time for the bill to be signed. It’s the right thing to do for the people of Delaware,” said Markell, following the Senate passage last week.

Delaware will be the 8th state to offer civil unions or comprehensive domestic partnerships.

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