Beginning January 1, 2012, two more states — Hawaii and Delaware — join the growing list of states with same-sex marriage equality, including Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Washington, D.C. The states of New Jersey, Illinois and Rhode Island offer legal civil unions but have had complaints of unequal treatment.
California, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin offer a variety of domestic partnership laws that provide some recognition and benefits. New Hampshire’s Republican-controlled legislature is trying to repeal marriage equality with a pending bill, but the governor will veto it, if passed. California’s Prop 8 prevented same-sex marriages but the state will begin granting divorces to couples that were married in the state but can’t divorce elsewhere. California is also bringing in new laws that will recognize LGBT contributions along with those of other groups in the state’s education curriculum.
In Delaware, the new law took effect at 10 am on January 1st, with the first same-sex civil union taking place that afternoon between two lawyers, Lisa Goodman and Drewry Fennell, who have been partners for 14 years. They were joined in the union by the Rev. Patricia Downing, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Wilmington. Ken Boulden Jr., New Castle County Clerk of the Peace, opened his office on Sunday so that Goodman and Fennell and seven other couples could get their licenses the first day they were available. U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., read the sermon and Delaware Lt. Gov. Matt Denns read scripture at the ceremony.
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