Local/State

Delaware sees first same-sex marriage ceremony

Monday, July 01, 2013

Monday is an historic day in Delaware for same-sex couples who can now legally get married. The new law, which was passed back in May, officially goes into effect today, and one couple has already tied the knot in New Castle County.

Under the eyes of New Castle County Clerk of the Peace, the first same-sex marriage licenses were signed in the State of Delaware this morning. In a private ceremony in Wilmington, State Senator Karen Peterson and longtime partner Vikki Bandy converted their civil union to marriage.

Vikki Bandy explained the emotion of the occasion, saying, "It's overwhelming. There are no words to put to what this means, not just to us but to everybody behind us."

Karen Peterson said, "I mean it's exciting. There will be 1,100 federal benefits that we're now entitled to."

Peterson co-sponsored the state's gay marriage bill, and then came out during the debate. In May, the Governor signed the bill into law, which goes into effect today.

Activist Lisa Goodman from Equality Delaware and her soon to be wife were the first in the state to enter into a civil union. With their new marriage licenses, they're now planning to elope.

"The fact that the Supreme Court overturned DOMA last week making today recognition not only for Delawareans but for our federal government is just huge," said Goodman.

Outside, protesters gathered. Some support the change, while others condemned it with their voices and signs. A group from Westboro Baptist Church based out of Kansas was in attendance. But upstairs couples continued undaunted, filling out paperwork - excited to make this next step.

The same-sex law also recognizes marriages from jurisdictions where it is legal.

The Clerk of The Peace in Wilmington says he's expecting a very busy afternoon and a very busy week.

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