American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

States to Watch: Delaware

AFER is making the case for full federal marriage equality before the U.S. Supreme Court this spring, but there are several states which may see movement before a June 2013 decision. See more states to watch >

Delaware has had civil unions for just over a year, and although they’re better than no protection at all, they’re no substitute for marriage.

But there’s good news on the horizon: Delaware Governor Jack Markell is strongly in favor of marriage equality in his state, joining neighboring states Maryland and New York. House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf has also said that a marriage bill would likely face a legislative vote in the coming months, and that he would support it.

Delaware’s experience closely mirrors that of other states that graduated from civil unions to marriage. Only a small number of couples—565 in 2012—have taken advantage of the “marriage-lite” protections. Of those, about 400 were obtained on New Year’s Day, the first day they were available.

Polling is close on this issue. The last survey was in February of 2011, and showed marriage equality leading by the slimmest of margins: 48% to 47%. But public opinion has moved dramatically since that survey was taken, with 21 national surveys now showing a majority of Americans support the freedom to marry. Delaware is surely no exception to this steadily-growing support.

Here’s a list of all the national surveys showing a majority favor the freedom to marry since that most recent Delaware poll.

  1. NBC/Wall Street Journal, Dec 6 2012
    51% support
    40% opposed
  2.  Gallup, Dec 2012
    53% support
    46% opposed
  3. CBS, Dec 2012
    51 for marriage
    41 opposed
  4. WaPo/ABC, Nov 2012
    51% support marriage equality
    47% oppose
  5. AP/NCC, August 16, 2012
    53% for legal recognition
    42% against
  6. NY Times/CBS News, September 8, 12
    51% for legal
    41% for illegal
  7. WaPo/Kaiser, August 5, 2012
    53% marriage should be legal
    42% marriage should be illegal
    5% no opinion
  8. Washington Post/ABC, May 23, 2012
    53% support marriage equality
    39% oppose marriage equality
  9. CNN/ORC May 19, 2012
    54% support
    42% oppose
  10. Gallup, May 2012
    50% support marriage equality
    48% opposed
  11. Washington Post/ABC, March 10, 2012
    52 for marriage equality
    43 against
  12. CNN/ORC, September 9-11, 2011
    Should be recognized: 53%
    Should not be recognized: 46%
    No opinion: 1%
  13. Washington Post/ABC News, July 17, 2011
    51% support marriage equality
    45% oppose
  14. PRRI, May 19, 2011
    51% of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry
    43% are opposed.
  15. Gallup, May 20, 2011
    53% feel marriages should be recognized 53%
    45% feel they should not 45%
    3% No opinion
  16. CNN-ORC, April 19, 2011
    51% for recognition of marriage
    47% against
    2% no opinion