When the civil union law went into effect on Sunday in Delaware, two women were the first to make their relationship legal. Drewry Fennell and Lisa Goodman – both lawyers – filed for their same-sex union, according to the AP. The women, who have been together for almost 15 years, celebrated the occasion in a ceremony at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Wilmington.
And this was no small affair.
More than 400 guests attended the event, including U.S. Sen. Chris Coons – who delivered a speech – and Lt. Gov. Matt Denns – who also read from the Bible. The women even received a standing ovation.
Goodman was instrumental in helping get the civil union law passed in her home state, having led the state’s LGBT group Equality Delaware as its president. When the civil union legislation was passed, Goodman said, “Equality Delaware is pleased and excited with the steps that have been taken toward the upcoming implementation of the civil union statute. As far as we are aware, all governmental entities will be fully prepared to implement the statute on January 1st. Beginning on January 1st, same-sex couples who enter into civil unions in Delaware will, for the first time, have their families recognized and protected under Delaware law. It will truly be a new day, as well as a new year for equality.”
Eight other couples applied for licenses when the law went into effect this weekend. Delaware is one of several states that offer civil unions for same-sex couples, joining Hawaii, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Illinois. Six other states, plus Washington D.C., have legalized same-sex marriage.