Late this afternoon, in a 12-9 bipartisan vote, the Delaware Senate gave final approval to HB 75, a bill granting same-sex couples the freedom to marry in that state effective July 1 of this year. The Delaware House of Representatives passed the measure last month by a vote of 23-18.
Democratic Governor Jack Markell signed HB 75 into law just minutes later, reportedly telling the crowd, "I do not intend to make any of you wait one minute longer."
With the addition of Delaware to the equality column, eleven U.S. states plus Washington, D.C. allow same-sex couples the freedom to marry. Fifty-one million people -- sixteen percent of the American population -- now live in marriage equality states.
That number may soon swell yet again, as Minnesota appears poised to move forward on equal marriage legislation. That state's Democratic House speaker scheduled a vote on a same-sex marriage bill for Thursday, a move he had vowed not to do unless the votes required for passage were secured. If the bill clears the House, the Senate could vote on it as early as Saturday; leaders in that chamber are similarly confident that the votes are there for passage. Pro-equality Governor Mark Dayton has pledged to sign the bill into law if it reaches his desk.
If the bill clears each of these hurdles, marriages in Minnesota would begin on August 1.