Delaware on Tuesday became the eleventh state to embrace marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples.


The state Senate passed the freedom to marry legislation by a 12-9 vote Tuesday morning. Democratic Gov. Jack Markell later signed the bill into law, tweeting "marriage equality is a reality in" the state. The Delaware House approved the bill two weeks ago.

"This is a historic day in Delaware," Equality Delaware President Lisa Goodman said. "Delawareans of all backgrounds recognize that treating everyone fairly under the law is the right thing to do. Today our State Senate has joined our House of Representatives in voting to pass marriage equality. This law strengthens our families, strengthens our communities and makes Delaware an even better place to live and work. I couldn’t be prouder to be a Delawarean than I am right now."

Same-sex couples in Delaware will be able to officially tie the knot starting on July 1.

The victory for gay and lesbian couples came less than a week after Rhode Island became the tenth state to legalize same-sex marriage.

"As happy couples and their loved ones celebrate and prepare for the first weddings in Delaware – following the win in Rhode Island just a few days ago – this milestone sends yet another message to the Supreme Court that it’s time for marriage for all Americans. Freedom to Marry is proud of its work with Equality Delaware to secure this victory, and we look forward to surging forward and continuing the momentum in Illinois and Minnesota later this month," said Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry.