LGBT rights in Delaware

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LGBT rights in Delaware
Delaware (USA)
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1973
Gender identity/expression Transsexual persons allowed to change legal gender
Discrimination protections Yes, both sexual orientation and gender identity
Family rights
Recognition of
relationships
Civil unions since 2012; Same-sex marriage since 2013
Restrictions:
None
Adoption Yes

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the U.S. state of Delaware enjoy the same legal protections as heterosexuals. Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Delaware since January 1, 1973. On January 1, 2012, civil unions became available to same-sex couples in Delaware, granting them the "rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities" of married persons.[1] The state legalized same-sex marriage on May 7, 2013. The same-sex marriage law went into effect on July 1, 2013.

Laws against same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Delaware repealed its sodomy law in July 1972.[2] The repeal of the sodomy law became effective on January 1, 1973.

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

In March 2011, state senators David P. Sokola and Melanie George introduced a bill to create civil unions in Delaware.[3][dead link] Governor Jack Markell signed the legislation on May 11, 2011, and it took effect on January 1, 2012.[4] In 2012, Delaware issued at least 565 civil union licenses, much higher than advocates had anticipated.[5]

In March 2012, Markell said he thought that the legalization of same-sex marriage in Delaware was "inevitable" and would be passed "probably within the next few years".[6] In September, Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf said he expected the General Assembly to vote on same-sex marriage in 2013 and that he would support it, but was uncertain of the legislation's prospects.[7] A bill to allow same-sex marriage and convert civil unions to marriages passed the Delaware House by a vote of 23 to 18 on April 23.[8] The Senate approved it by a vote of 12 to 9 on May 7,[9] and that same day the Governor signed the legislation, which went effect July 1, 2013.[10]

Polling[edit]

In February 2011, a Public Policy Polling survey found that 48% of Delaware voters supported the legalization of same-sex marriage, while 47% were opposed and 5% percent were not sure.[11] March 6, 2011, poll by Lake Research Partners showed that 62% in Delaware favor allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions, while 31% were opposed, and 7% were not sure.[12]

A February 2013 poll, conducted by Global Strategy Group, found that 54% of likely voters supported same-sex marriage, 37% were opposed and 8 percent didn’t know or declined to answer the question.[13][14]

Adoption[edit]

Delaware law permits any unmarried adult or married couple to petition a court for adoption of a child. The first second-parent adoption involving a same-sex couple occurred in October 2001.[15] Since January 2012, same-sex couples in a civil union or marriage have the same adoption rights as opposite-sex couples.[1][16]

Hate crime legislation[edit]

Since 2001, Delaware has imposed additional penalties for committing a violent crime motivated by the victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation. Since 2013, Delaware has imposed additional penalties for committing a violent crime motivated by the victim's actual or perceived gender identity.

Bill SB 97 that prohibits hate crimes on the basis of actual or perceived gender identity passed the Senate by a vote of 11-7 on June 6, 2013.[17] The House committee passed the legislation by a vote of 4-1 and on June 18, the House floor passed SB 97 by a vote of 24-17 with amendments (which means SB 97 must go back to the Senate for final approval). The Senate approved the amendments by a vote of 11-9[18][19][20] and then a day later SB 97 was signed into law by the Governor[21] - SB 97 went into effect immediately.[22][23][24]

Discrimination protections[edit]

The University of Delaware's policy on both discrimination and harassment has included sexual orientation since 1990.[25]

Since 2009, Delaware law has prohibited discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other areas.[26] Since 2013, Delaware law has prohibited discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other areas.

Gov. Jack Markell issued an executive order on August 11, 2009, that protects employees of state's executive branch departments and agencies from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.[27][28]

Bill SB 97 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived gender identity passed the Senate by a vote of 11-7 on June 6, 2013.[17] The House committee passed the legislation by a vote of 4-1 and on June 18, the House floor passed SB 97 by a vote of 24-17 with amendments (which means SB 97 must go back to the Senate for final approval). The Senate approved the amendments by a vote of 11-9[18][19][20] and then a day later SB 97 was signed into law by the Governor[21] - SB 97 went into effect immediately.[22][23][24]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Senate Bill 30, "An Act to Amend Title 13 of the Delaware Code Relating to Civil Unions, General Assembly of Delaware, accessed 4 December 2011.
  2. ^ William N. Eskridge, Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861–2003 (NY: Penguin Group, 2008), 201, available online, accessed April 9, 2011
  3. ^ Miller, Beth (March 23, 2011). "Delaware government: Civil unions bill filed in Dover". News Journal. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  4. ^ San Francisco Chronicle: "Delaware governor signs civil unions bill into law," May 11, 2011, accessed May 12, 2011
  5. ^ "Number of civil unions 'exceeded expectations'". Delaware Newszap. 2012-12-30. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  6. ^ "Delaware governor says gay marriage is "inevitable" in his state". Reuters. March 2, 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  7. ^ Starkey, Jonathan (September 26, 2012). "Schwartzkopf: gay marriage a "no-brainer"". DelawareOnline. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Delaware House Approves Gay Marriage Bill". CBS Philly. April 23, 2013. Retrieved May 7, 2013. 
  9. ^ Chase, Randall (May 7, 2013). "Delaware to Become 11th State With Gay Marriage". ABC News. Retrieved May 7, 2013. 
  10. ^ Byrne, Tom (May 7, 2013). "Delaware becomes 11th state to approve same-sex marriage". WDDE. Retrieved May 7, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Plurality of Delaware Supports Marriage Equality". Delaware Liberal. February 9, 2011. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Delaware same-sex partnership support". Delaware same-sex partnership. 
  13. ^ "New Poll: 54% of Delaware Voters Support Marriage Equality". Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  14. ^ "Poll: At least half of Delaware's voters would support same-sex marriage". Delawareonline.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  15. ^ "Delaware: Gay Couple Adopts". New York Times. October 18, 2001. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Delaware Adoption Law". Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Lavers, Michael K. (June 7, 2013). "Delaware Senate approves transgender rights bill". Washington Blade. Retrieved June 13, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "Del. gender identity protections bill clears final legislative vote – LGBTQ Nation". Lgbtqnation.com. 2011-04-12. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  19. ^ a b "Official web site of First State Legislature". www.legis.delaware.gov. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  20. ^ a b "Delaware Governor Markell Signs Transgender Rights Bill into Law | Human Rights Campaign". Hrc.org. 2013-06-19. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  21. ^ a b Lavers, Michael K. (2013-06-19). "Markell signs transgender rights bill into law : Washington Blade – America's Leading Gay News Source". Washingtonblade.com. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  22. ^ a b "Del. state House approves transgender protections bill – LGBTQ Nation". Lgbtqnation.com. 2011-04-12. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  23. ^ a b "Official web site of First State Legislature". www.legis.delaware.gov. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  24. ^ a b Lavers, Michael K. (June 12, 2013). "Delaware House committee approves transgender rights bill". Washington Blade. Retrieved June 13, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Delaware: Faculty Broadens University Policy On Harassment". New York Times. December 9, 1990. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  26. ^ State of Delaware: "145th General Assembly Senate Bill # 121", accessed May 12, 2011
  27. ^ Hammonds, Deborah (December 9, 2009). "States extend anti-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity". Employment Law Daily. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Markell Expands Efforts to Promote Equality in Delaware, August 11, 2009". State of Delaware. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 

External links[edit]