County Executive Tom Gordon attended the wedding of State Sen. Karen Peterson and her partner of more than 20 years, Victoria Bandy Monday. Peterson and Bandy were the first same sex couple to be married in the state.
"I am happy that my friend, Senator Peterson, is free to celebrate an important and big day in her life with her partner, Vikki," Gordon said. "They've been together for 24 years and they wanted to demonstrate their love for each other before the eyes of the state.
"This is a proud day in Delaware history," he added.
Gordon was one of about 40 guests at the ceremony, which was officiated by New Castle County Clerk of the Peace Kenneth Boulden in the City/County Building.
Boulden waived a 24-hour waiting period between issuing the license and performing the marriage, stating that he is allowed to do so in extraordinary circumstances and he considered the historic ceremony an extraordinary circumstance.
"We have been married for years," Bandy said following the ceremony.
Peterson and Bandy had a "commitment" ceremony 23 years ago and a civil union last year.
The Delaware General Assembly passed House Bill 75 to allow same-gender civil marriage and to convert existing civil unions to civil marriages this past spring. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives on April 23 and the State Senate on May 7, when it was immediately signed by the Governor. The law went into effect July 1.
Gordon believes that equality is a fundamental principle in America and is reflected in the U.S. Constitution through the Equal Protection Clause.
"The obligations and rights of marriage are to be promoted, not discouraged," County Executive Gordon said.