Del. Gov. to Sign Civil Unions Bill
The governor of Delaware is set to sign civil unions legislation that would make his state the latest to extend such recognition to gay and lesbian families. Currently, four other states also provide civil unions protections, and five states grant same-sex couples marriage parity on the state level.
Gov. Jack Markell is slated to sign the bill into law on May 11.
Equality Delaware has announced a celebration in Wilmington, Delaware, on the evening of May 11, which will commence at 6:30 p.m. and feature a performance by the Rainbow Chorale of Delaware.
Delaware lawmakers vote 26-15 to send the bill to Markell last month, and Markell pledged to sign it into law.
"When it came to this legislation, it was clear that it was about rights, it was about opportunity and it was about time," stated the governor. "It makes clear that if you’ve committed yourself to someone, and you’ve made that pledge to spend your life together in partnership, when life or death decisions come, we will respect your right to make those decisions together.
"It makes clear to children raised since birth in a homes of love, hope and help that just because both of your parents happen to be men or women, if one of those parents dies, you will not be torn apart from the other parent," Markell added. "I congratulate everyone who worked so hard to make these rights real and look forward to signing this bill into law."
The bill won approval despite attempts from anti-gay groups to derail civil unions in the state. The Delaware Family Policy Council launched one such effort, posting assorted claims about civil unions, at its website, including the assertion that, "A vote for civil unions IS a vote for same-sex ’Marriage.’ "
The Delaware Family Policy Council describes its mission as "To strengthen, nurture, and shield our Delaware Families by developing faith based alliances with churches, pro-family organizations, community and civic leaders, and religious organizations."
"Understand that if this bill passes, there is no going back," text at the group’s site declared. "Civil unions threaten to redefine marriage and parenting." The text went on to assert, "Every time civil unions have been imposed on a state, demands for same-sex ’marriage’ have followed. The activists lobbying for civil unions really want same-sex ’marriage’ ... The bottom line is that you can’t really talk about civil unions without talking about same-sex ’marriage’ because there really isn’t any difference. The goal is the same."
On Top Magazine reported in a March 13 article that the organization went further, making claims that children would be taught about homosexuality in school. Calling civil unions "a desperate and dishonest attempt to force same-sex ’marriage’ on Delaware," the group claimed in an "Urgent Call to Action" that, "If government changes the definition of marriage, which civil unions will do, it will have to enforce the belief that same-sex ’marriage’ is the equivalent of man/woman marriage. This belief will be taught in the classroom."