Home State Laws Gay Marriage Laws in Delaware

Gay Marriage Laws in Delaware

Gay Marriage Laws in DelawareState
laws in Delaware currently oppose gay marriage. However, a bill that would have
banned gay marriage in Delaware was defeated in 2009.  Currently, there is
no legal recognition for civil unions or domestic partnerships but there is
also no ban on gay marriage in Delaware. 

However, in Delaware, gay and LGBT
rights are lagging behind other states and a large percentage of individuals oppose
gay marriage. In fact discrimination against sexual orientation was not illegal
until 2009. Also there are no laws preventing discrimination based on gender
identity, except for government employees.

It is clear that Delaware will continue to oppose gay marriage as long as
they do not provide the most basic rights to those in the LGBT community. In
2001, Delaware code finally made hate crimes against a person based on actual
or perceived sexual orientation, a crime. In addition, in 2009 Delaware code
began to legally forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation. 

discrimination applied to housing, insurance, employment and other areas. 
However, that discrimination did not extend to marriage in Delaware. Gay marriage
is still not not legally recognized. In addition, there are no laws that
prevent hate crimes or discrimination against individuals based on perceived or
actual gender identity unless the individual is a government employee. 

Executive Order number 8 protects government employers and employees from any
act of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Like many
other states, government employees enjoy many rights not afforded to the
general public.

In general, government employees should not receive special
protection simply because they are employed by the government. The general
public should be entitled to the same rights and protection, or the government
becomes complacent in furthering discrimination. In some cases, special rights
afforded to government employees can protect the public. 

For instance, firemen
can enter a home without a warrant in order to put out a fire. In that case,
their special rights protect the public. However, when government employees are
entitled to rights and protection, regarding issues of equality, the general
public should also be entitled to those rights. However,  in Delaware, gay
rights for the public may follow after those afforded to government employees.

Until Delaware begins to recognize equal rights for all individuals, there will
continue to be a large population that will oppose gay marriage. In Delaware,
gay rights must equal those of heterosexual individuals and government
employees, before any steps can be taken towards reaching full equality. 

By opposing
gay marriage, Delaware is itself committing an act of discrimination. In Delaware,
gay rights must be recognized for the general public, just as they are
recognized for government employees and this includes the right to get married.