Last May, Keith and Glenn applied for and were granted a civil union license under Delaware state law. Although the couple was happy to have the protections of a civil union, they knew that only marriage provides the true security they need as they continue to build their lives together.
Keith is a veteran and a recently retired federal employee. Despite having a state-recognized civil union, Keith is unable to provide Glenn with healthcare or other protections typically granted to married spouses of veterans and federal employees.
The passage of Delaware's marriage equality law won't immediately impact Glenn's ability to access Keith's spousal protections -- because the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (or DOMA, the federal law that discriminates against same-sex couples in marriage) governs how our military professionals, veterans, and federal employees access benefits. But with several judges already ruling DOMA unconstitutional -- the law's demise is near.
If Delaware extends the freedom to marry to same-sex couples -- and the Supreme Court strikes down DOMA in June -- Keith and Glenn will finally have access to all the protections and security of marriage. And Keith's service to our country will be fully honored and affirmed as his family is treated equally under the law.
On Tuesday, May 7, Delaware has the opportunity to honor the service of thousands of gay veterans like Keith who want their love and commitment recognized and protected.