By David Madden

WILMINGTON, De. (CBS) – With the New Year, Delaware will join a dozen other states that allow for gay marriage or, in the case of the First State, civil unions.

While the actual bill breezed through the legislature in Dover, getting there took more than a decade of behind-the-scenes efforts by groups like Equality Delaware.

The group’s president, Lisa Goodman, believes the work was worth it. “It provides the same rights and responsibilities of marriage within the state of Delaware. It grants all of the legal protections and obligations that the state of Delaware is able to grant to same sex couples.”

While most of those couples looking to get legally hitched quickly will have to wait until next week, a few have made appointments for Sunday with the Clerk of the Peace in New Castle County, including Goodman, who will commit herself to her partner of the last 14 years.

“I’m really nervous. I started thinking, about two weeks ago, with all the arrangements to be made, I started to understand why people might elope.” Sounds pretty normal — and that’s the point.

New Jersey has a similar civil union law in place; Pennsylvania does not. The law does not grant same-sex couples federal marriage benefits. That is still illegal under the Defense of Marriage Act.

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