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Sun Jan 1, 2012, 05:22 PM

First Civil Union in Delaware, sermon was done by Senator Chris Coons

http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20120101/NEWS/120101002/First-civil-union-takes-place-Delaware?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Home

First civil union takes place in Delaware

Two women became the first couple in Delaware joined in a same-sex civil union ceremony Sunday during a historic and emotional service at their Wilmington church.

Fellow Delaware attorneys, as well as judges, legislators, friends and family members witnessed the tearful exchange of vows between Lisa B. Goodman and Drewry N. Fennell at Trinity Episcopal Church on North Adams Street.

A friend of the couple, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, delivered the sermon. During the liturgy, Lt. Gov. Matthew Denn and Superior Court Judge Jan R. Jurden each read from the Bible. Both know the couple from their days at the law firm Young, Conaway, Stargatt & Taylor.

At 10 a.m. Sunday, Delaware’s law adopting same-sex civil unions took effect. After years of debate and hours of testimony in Dover, the General Assembly adopted the measure in April 2011. Gov. Jack Markell signed the bill in May.

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Congratulations to this couple and all couples that now can legally wed. Yes, it's only a Civil Union - unfortunately we have DOMA in our constitution. But the law was well written to ensure same-sex couples have all the same rights as heteros. But we'll work on the DE DOMA amendment next!

Edit note: The DOMA would have taken way more time and effort to overturn and gay-rights advocates in the state felt it was best to at least get civil unions passed now while we can and then continue to work to overturn DOMA out of our state constitution. BTW you can thank Christine O'Donnell for this law being passed. She was such poison on the GOP 2010 ticket here in Delaware that we were able to pick up enough state seats to have the numbers to pass this law!

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Reply First Civil Union in Delaware, sermon was done by Senator Chris Coons (Original post)
LynneSin Jan 2012 OP
Tansy_Gold Jan 2012 #1
Warren Stupidity Jan 2012 #2
LynneSin Jan 2012 #3

Response to LynneSin (Original post)

Sun Jan 1, 2012, 05:24 PM

1. Excellent. Excellent.

Best wishes and congratulations to all.

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Response to LynneSin (Original post)

Sun Jan 1, 2012, 08:23 PM

2. I once thought this was a reasonable compromise.

I no longer think that. Second class citizenship is unacceptable.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 1, 2012, 10:31 PM

3. I understand where you're coming from but you have to understand how things are setup in Delaware

back in the 90s, Delaware passed a DOMA law and unfortunately to overturn it would require more votes then what we have right now. The DE senate worked with Gay-rights group to create a civil union bill that would mirror everything that marriage has and wanted to pass it now while we had the votes in congress. In 2010 we picked up enough extra seats in the Delaware congress that we had the majority needed to pass Civil Unions and Medical Marijuana. These laws required a simple majority. But to repeal DOMA we would need 3/5 of the vote, which we don't have just yet. Governor Markell wanted to take advantage of the numbers we so at least same sex couples can have the same rights as heteros.

The fight isn't finished in Delaware. Perhaps to get those extra votes needed to repeal our state DOMA law is a few years to show a few of the senators and representatives in Dover that allowing same sex couples to marry is a good thing for Delaware.

So my question to you is this. Right now there are about 30+ states with DOMA laws on the book and for most states repealing state law takes more than a simple majority. Should we deny all rights to same-sex couples because we insist on the word marriage only or should we do what we can to create laws today that gives same sex couples the right to form a union that is identical to marriage except the actual word 'marriage' (which is how it was written in DE with help from gay right groups. BTW that first couple that married - the one spouse was on of the writers of the DE law that was recently passed).

My guess is this - with Obama now openly requesting the repeal of DOMA laws, I suspect DOMA is going to head to the Supreme Court where hopefully it will get repealed (right now it's at 4-4 with Justice Kennedy being the toss-up). When that happens, all those state DOMA laws will be nullified.

But until then, we need to get laws on the book today that can allow same-sex couples the same benefits as hetero couples. Better to move forward than to stand still.

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