Delaware prepares for same-sex marriage protest fueled by Westboro Baptist Church

(WHYY, file)

(WHYY, file)

As same-sex couples across the state prepare to head to the Clerk of the Peace, local officials are preparing to keep the peace as members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church plan a protest.

The city of Wilmington will close French Street from 7:50 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. on Monday for the protest that is expected to take place between the Carvel State Office Building and the Louis L. Redding City/County Building.

The extremist church based out of Topeka, Kansas is known for their virulent protests against the gay community at military funerals and other high profile events. They also have protests scheduled at the Dover Air Force Base and at the Clerk of the Peace office in Dover.

On July first, Delaware’s new marriage law officially goes into effect, allowing same-sex couples to apply for a marriage license at Clerk of Peace offices across the state. Same-sex couples who already have a civil union in the state will be allowed to convert to a marriage license.

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The legislation was passed by the 147th General Assembly and signed by Governor Jack Markell earlier this year.

State Senator Karen Peterson and her spouse Vikki Bandy will be the first same-sex couple in Delaware to convert their civil union to marriage. The ceremony will take place at the New Castle County Clerk of the Peace’s office at 8:30 a.m.

Sen. Peterson gained attention during the same-sex marriage debate when she came out to the public as a lesbian during senate floor testimony.

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