Delaware took a significant step toward equality Thursday when the house of representatives voted to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples. The proposal passed the senate last week and Gov. Jack Markell intends to sign the bill. ...Congratulations, Delaware! But don't stop here. I'm with Evan Wolfson:
According to HRC, five states currently have laws providing an expansive form of state-level relationship recognition for gay and lesbian couples without offering marriage. States offering such civil unions and domestic partnerships include California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington. Earlier this year, Hawaii and Illinois adopted civil union laws that will take effect in June for Illinois and in January 2012 for Hawaii....
Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom To Marry, said in a statement after the Delaware vote, “Civil union provides a welcome measure of protections to same-sex couples and their families, but is no substitute for the freedom to marry and the full measure of respect, clarity, and responsibilities that only marriage brings. A separate legal status designed to both give and withhold, civil union will afford more families in Delaware important legal protections while unfairly and unnecessarily denying them the dignity and respect they deserve and the full measure of security they need. States that have created civil union have found that it falls far short of marriage with all its tangible and intangible significance in our lives, and documented that civil union simply does not work to fully protect families or clarify
responsibilities for businesses and others. Many states – Connecticut, New Hampshire, and even Vermont, which first created
civil union – have since pushed past civil union to marriage itself, recognizing the inadequacy and unfairness of a separate and unequal status."