Delaware, Rhode Island Adopt Marriage Equality

Democratic Governor Jack Markell, on May 7, made Delaware the 11th state to allow same-sex couples to marry when he signed legislation the State Senate approved earlier in the day on a 12-9 vote. In her remarks in favor of the bill, Senator Karen Peterson, a Stanton Democrat, came out as a lesbian and told her colleagues, “If my happiness somehow demeans or diminishes your marriage, you need to work on your marriage.” The Delaware House of Representatives passed the bill on April 23 by a 23-18 margin

It was just last week that Rhode Island became the last of the six New England states to enact gay marriage. There, the House of Representatives, in a 56-15 vote, gave final approval to the Senate’s amended language of a bill the House had originally passed earlier this year. The Senate okayed the bill on April 24, by a 26-12 margin. Governor Lincoln Chafee, an Independent, signed the legislation, sponsored in the Senate by out lesbian Senator Donna Nesselbush, a Pawtucket Democrat, and championed in the House by out gay Speaker Gordon D. Fox, a Democrat from Providence.