One month after the Delaware state legislature passed a law granting civil unions to same-sex couples by wide margins, Gov. Jack Markell (D) signed the bill into law at a signing ceremony attended by over 600 supporters of equality.
According to the Associated Press, the law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2012, making Delaware the eighth state to grant civil unions or domestic partnerships to gay couples. Another five states and the District of Columbia grant full marriage equality (albeit without federal protections thanks to the "Defense of Marriage Act"), and a few more grant limited rights and protections to gay couples.
This is a major victory for all supporters of equality in Delaware, and it should be appropriately celebrated as such. However, separate is not equal, and the fact that a separate institution outside of marriage is being created for gay couples is a solemn reminder that we are not yet equal, in Delaware or anywhere else in this country.
If we want full equality for gay couples, we need full equality in the institution of marriage, and that includes repealing the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.
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