by ANDREA FRENCH Section Editor
Delaware becomes the eleventh state in the United States to legalize gay marriage, and people everywhere are predicting this decision will cause a ripple effect and spread similar legalizations in surrounding states. Pennsylvania and New Jersey are most likely looking to change the laws prohibiting same sex marriages next.
Delaware’s law is taking effect on July 1, 2013. This means that all gay couples who are not yet married can now get married, and all couples that have a civil union will be converted to a legal marriage.
A civil union is a legally recognized union of a same-sex couple, with rights similar to those of marriage.
After three hours of debate in the Delaware State Senate, they voted to pass the law 12-9. As governor Jack Markell walked through the office after passing the bill, people cheered and screamed in excitement.
“I cannot believe that this has been such a big deal today in the year 2013. People in America should have to freedom to marry whomever they chose, man or woman. Hopefully it won’t take much longer for all of the other 39 states to realize that they cannot control every aspect of someones personal life, and they have to allow people to be themselves,” says sophomore Amanda Campanaro.
Richard DeMichele Jr. is an attorney who defends same-sex marriage in Haddon Heights.
DeMichele says, “With Delaware enacting their law and being so close, in particular to South Jersey, I think there’s going to be a lot more opportunity for those issues to arise.”
However, same sex marriage has been legal in New York for over two years now, and it has not had an effect on any of its surrounding states, so there is still some question as to which eastern state is going to be next in this switch to the legalization of gay marriage. Minnesota will become state number 12 to legalize same-sex marriage in the coming weeks.
Next month, June 2013, the Supreme Court is planning on reevaluating whether or not they are going to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. DOMA is a nation-wide act that bans gay married couples from receiving federal benefits, and civil unions would not provide protections or tax benefits under federal law to same-sex couples in Delaware.
“I understand all of the controversy with same sex marriage and the Catholic Church because people can claim it goes against the religion. But I will never understand how non-religious people can continue to vote down gay marriage when all anyone is trying to do is allow people to be happy with whomever they chose,” says sophomore Casey Schieda.
Most people in states who do not legally recognize same sex marriage will more than likely venture out to states who do, and tie the knot there. Even if they cannot receive the same treatment as opposite sex marriages, it is the thought that counts.