Less than a week after Rhode Island became the 10th state to approve marriage equality, Delaware became the 11th yesterday afternoon. Gov. Jack Markell (D) signed it within minutes of the bill passing the legislature, declaring, “I am signing this bill now because I do not intend to make any of you wait one moment longer.”
During a lengthy floor debate, state Sen. Karen Peterson (D) told her colleagues she’s a lesbian who has lived with her partner for 24 years. “If my happiness somehow demeans or diminishes your marriage, then you need to work on your marriage,” she said, eliciting cheers and laughter.
Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, responded to developments in Delaware by saying, “We’re not discouraged.”
They should be – they’re losing, the number of states approving equal marriage rights keeps growing, and the pendulum is not going to swing back. Indeed, Minnesota appears likely to become the 12th state to approve marriage equality later this week, and Illinois will probably be close behind.
What’s more, while the early victories were the result of judicial intervention – court rulings mandated equal rights under the law, before politicians were prepared to act on their own – note that all of the recent progress has come from policymakers and voters advancing the cause of equality, not because a judge said so, but because they realized it’s the right thing to do.
If anti-gay activists aren’t “discouraged,” they’re not paying close enough attention. Eleven states have ended discriminatory marriage laws, and in time, that number will grow to 50.