Gay and lesbian couples want to marry for reasons familiar to all couples – for love, commitment, shared responsibility, and often because they want to start a family together. Marriage says “We are family” in a way that no other word does. Everyone understands what marriage is.
Civil unions have provided Delaware same-sex couples basic rights at the state level. However, only marriage will provide access to the full dignity, respect and protections accorded to other couples. Excluding same-sex couples from marriage relegates them to an inferior status.
Now is the Time for Marriage in Delaware.
A majority of Americans support extending marriage to same-sex couples.
Rapid change has occurred since Delaware adopted civil unions in April of 2011. New York has adopted marriage. DADT has been repealed. Voters in three states, including our neighbors in Maryland, approved marriage at the ballot box in the 2012 election.
The constitutionality of DOMA is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, which we expect will agree with the rulings of every circuit court that has decided it, and invalidate the federal prohibition against recognizing same-sex marriages. Only the status of marriage can guarantee same-sex couples in Delaware the same treatment afforded to married couples under federal law.
Support for Marriage is Bi-Partisan: It’s About Fairness, not Politics.
In addition to President Obama and Vice-President Biden, Governor Markell, Lt. Governor Denn and Attorney General Beau Biden, marriage equality is supported by former GOP National Chairman Ken Mehlman and former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Support for marriage is not only a liberal position; the marriage equality is consistent with conservative values such as personal freedom, responsibility, limited government and the importance of family.
Religious Freedom is Always Protected
Civil marriage does not affect religious institutions or clergy in any way.
No clergyperson of any denomination will ever be required to perform or recognize any marriage, including marriages for same-sex couples, that does not conform with their religious beliefs. This continues to be true just as, for example, no clergyperson has ever been required under Delaware law to re-marry a divorced person, or to marry an inter-faith couple.