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Delaware Becomes 11th State with Marriage Equality, Minnesota Follows Suit



Minnesota made headlines on Tuesday, May 14, when it became the first Midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage.  Following favorable votes by the Minnesotan House (May 9) and Senate (May 13), Governor Mark Dayton signed the Freedom to Marry Bill into law on Tuesday, May 14Starting August 1 this year, same-sex couples will have the right to take vows and enter into a marriage.


No other state has seen such a dramatic turn in such a short span of time when it comes to marriage equality.  Only six months ago, Minnesota voters struck down a constitutional amendment that would prohibit same-sex marriage across the state.  Now, it has become the 13th state in the Union to grant this right to its citizens.


The passage of the bill is largely a success of a vibrant, pro-gay social movement for which marriage equality in Minnesota came after a very long and arduous fight.  Minnesotans United is a group formed in response to last year’s same-sex marriage ban proposal.  After the amendment was rejected on the ballot, the group continued its work to legalize gay marriage in Minnesota.  The group was strongly supported by the Human Rights Campaign, which provided resources, expertise, and staff. 


Over a short period of several weeks, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota joined the group of nine other states that recognize marriage equality.  Today, 56 million Americans, or 18% of the population, enjoy this right, a growing statistic that bodes well for the future.  Other states are on the horizon, including Illinois where the issue will shortly be discussed by the state legislature.  Next month, the Supreme Court will rule on two landmark marriage equality cases.  For more information, click here.




Delaware has recently become the 11th state to legalize same-sex marriage.  On May 7th, the State Senate passed the bill 12-9.  The bill was signed into law by Gov. Jack Markell (D) only an hour after the historical vote, and the new law will go into effect on July 1.  This is also when all civil unions established to-date will be officially converted to marriages.


Many nonprofits fought for the freedom to marry in Delaware, including Equality Delaware and the Human Rights Campaign.  Equality Delaware is a statewide group that embarked on a series of outreach and lobbying activities across the state to promote the idea of marriage equality and increase the public and political support for the issue.  HRC is the largest American LGBT advocacy group with more than one million supporters.   


The marriage equality movement is quickly gaining momentum across the United States.  Delaware’s decision comes just a week after same-sex marriage was legalized in neighboring Rhode Island, where the law was passed with a strong 56-15 vote and the support of Gov. Lincoln Chaffee. 


On May 9th, just two days after the law passed in Delaware, the Minnesota House approved a similar bill 75-59.  Now, it will make its way to the State Senate where it is expected to be approved on Monday, May 13.  If that happens, Minnesota is on track to become the 12th state with marriage equality, as Governor Mark Dayton has already pledged his support for the legislation.  Importantly, Minnesota would be the first Midwestern state to adopt same-sex marriage legislation.


In June, the Supreme Court will rule on two landmark marriage equality cases, deciding on the legality of the California Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.  For the full story, click here.


The Human Rights Campaign website is the online gateway to learning more about marriage equality efforts across the United States. Additional resources can be found on the website of Marriage Equality USA.     


From UptakeVideo, here's a glimpse of the celebration in the Minnessota House: