When Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed the state’s Civil Union law last May one of the many hopes among supporters is that it would make a positive economic impact on the state.
Most of those positives forces came together Sunday for the first ever Civil Union Expo. It was billed as part trade show and part tutorial for same-sex couples to plan their special day, which can happen anytime after January 1st.
It was the brain child of Chris Eagan, her company Blue Point Enterprise, and most importantly her partner of 18 years. They were happy with the 30 vendors who showed off everything from wedding cakes to wedding attire. Linda Luker, 68 and her partner Eirin Gessner, 63, loved the event. Linda says about civil union being legal. “It’ssimple, this is all we really want, she added.”
If there was a man of the hour Kennth Boulden, New Castle County Clerk of Peace was that man. It’s his office that issue civil union licenses. Since January 1 is a Sunday and the 2ndwould be the observed holiday, Boulden believes January 3rd will be packed with people wanting to turn in their applications to qualify for a ceremony. He told more than 300 in attendance that his office will open for a half day on Sunday and another half day on Monday to alleviate overcrowding. He says the first ceremonies will take place on Thursday January 5th. He went over the necessary paperwork and fees needed at the time people apply. It’ll cost in state residents $50. Out of state residents pay $75. Boulden said his office was working on a name changing kit that will be available at the time the licenses will be issued for an additional cost. The entire process should only take about 20 minutes, but Boulden added the wait could be longer if there are questions about the necessary paperwork.
Reality TV Chef Dana Herbert of the Next Great Baker was among those showing off potential Civil Union celebration cakes. Sue Fortier of Fortier photography was there as well. She was pitching her services, but added that she and her partner did not plan on being one of those who would join in the Civil Union process. She said, “this is a great thing for the younger generation and is a big leap forward for the gay community.” She was content to leave things the way they were.
Organizer Eagan said, “since the law did just past, the big focus for this particular event was the educational part.” In Delaware, a civil union means that the party will have the same recognition as a married couple. If you have received a civil union in another state, than it will be recognized in the state of Delaware come January 1st. She plans to hold another expo in the spring once the Civil Union process has had a chance to take hold.