Delaware Governor Jack Markell has signed SB 30, a bill that provides legal protections and benefits for same-sex couples. The law is effective January 1, 2012.
Delaware is one of a handful of states to grant rights and benefits to same-sex couples. Earlier this year, Hawaii and Illinois passed civil union bills.
Under the law, the "Civil Union and Equality Act of 2011," couples who enter into a legal civil union in Delaware, or whose legal union is recognized as a civil union under state law, will have all of the same rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities as married persons under Delaware law, according to the bill.
The law does not change federal law, which restricts marriage benefits to opposite-sex couples.