On May 2, the Rhode Island Legislature passed same-sex marriage into law and, on May 7, the Delaware Legislature did so as well, making these states the 10th and 11th to permit same-sex marriage. Rhode Island became the last New England state to pass this legislation and it and Delaware join not only Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, but also Iowa, New York, Washington, and Maryland as American states where same-sex couples may legally marry. Same-sex marriage is also legal in Washington, D.C.
The Rhode Island Senate approved the state’s same-sex marriage bill late in April, with the full support of Republican State Senators, by a vote of 26 to 12, and the following week, the House, which had approved a similar bill in January, passed the Senate’s amended bill, by a vote of 56 to 15. Governor Lincoln Chafee (Independent) signed it into law almost immediately. The Rhode Island law takes effect on August 1.
Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), commented, “What made the Rhode Island victory especially sweet was the unanimous support of the Senate Republican caucus … With support from HRC and other partners, the Rhode Islanders United for Marriage campaign generated 13,402 phone calls and emails to legislators, knocked on 32,320 doors, and had 28,264 conversations with Rhode Islanders about marriage equality–all while building strong, visible support for this critical legislation among multiple faith communities.”
The Delaware House passed its same-sex marriage bill in mid-April by a vote of 23 to 18 and, on May 7, the Senate passed it by a vote of 12 to nine. Governor Jack Markell (Democrat) also signed the bill into law immediately. The Delaware law takes effect on July 1.
Marriage Equality USA Executive Director Brian Silva said, “We congratulate Delaware on becoming the 11th state to join the ranks of state-level marriage equality! Today we celebrate another win for protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) families. Marriage Equality USA worked hand in hand with the Equality Delaware coalition from the beginning of the fight this year. Through the dedication of our volunteers and the members of the National Equality Action Team, we worked multiple weekend canvassing trips and twice weekly phonebanks over two months in order to achieve today's win. Collectively your support made possible 120 hours and almost 3,000 door knocks, as well as another 100 hours and 4,000 phone calls in the key districts we needed to win!”