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Delaware becomes 11th state with gay marriage

DOVER, Del. — A divided state Senate voted Tuesday to make Delaware the 11th state to allow same-sex marriage, after hearing hours of passionate testimony from supporters and opponents.

Less than an hour after the Senate’s 12-9 vote, Governor Jack Markell, a Democrat, signed the measure into law.

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‘‘I do not intend to make any of you wait one moment longer,’’ a smiling Markell told about 200 jubilant supporters who erupted in cheers and applause following the Senate vote.

‘‘I am elated,’’ said Scott Forrest, 50, of Newark, who entered into a same-sex civil union last year with his partner of almost 21 years, Kevin.

Delaware’s same-sex marriage bill was introduced in the Democrat-controlled Legislature barely a year after the state began recognizing same-sex civil unions.

The bill won passage two weeks ago in the House on a 23-18 vote.

Although it doesn’t give same-sex couples any more rights or benefits under Delaware law than those they have in civil unions, supporters argued that same-sex couples deserve the dignity and respect of married couples.

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