The Rehoboth Beach Museum hosted a celebration last night marking the 10-year anniversary of the signing of SB-121. That bill added sexual orientation to the state’s existing anti-discrimination law which forbids discrimination in housing, employment, public works, contracting, public accommodations and insurance.
It was an appropriate date given that July 2 would have also been Steve Elkins’ 69th birthday. He, along with Murray Archibald, co-founded CAMP Rehoboth in 1990.
It took more than 10 years to pass that law, Archibald pointed out, so the signing came at an important point as CAMP Rehoboth had just opened its new community center in 2009 and this was the center’s first big event. When the governor came to sign SB-121 at CAMP Rehoboth, Archibald noted, “It was a really wonderful day.”
Elkins worked on the project for almost 11 years. “We all did but he was especially involved in it,” Archibald told the audience. “It was really important to Steve,” he added. “Steve was thrilled on the day we signed that because it was also his birthday… It gives us a chance to remember our history, even fairly recent history, and all that has happened since then with civil unions and marriage equality and so many other things,” he added.
“I thought it would be fitting for us to remember by his words,” Archibald explained to the audience reading what Elkins had written about the event in the CAMP Rehoboth newsletter: “Over the almost 20 years that CAMP Rehoboth has been in existence, we have had many memorable days and events, but with the signing of SB-121 on July 2nd, we added another one to that list! With the crowd gathered at the CAMP Rehoboth community center to witness the signing by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, it was a thrilling moment in the culmination of more than a decade of hard work by state officials and activists, many of whom joined us for that event…”
“We are very proud in Delaware that we have this,” Archibald stated, noting that there are states that still do not. “We certainly need national protections throughout the country,” he said.
“It took 11 or 12 years to get there,” says Rep. Peter C. Schwartzkopf, Speaker of the Delaware House of Representatives, “and then we passed equal rights, and then not long after that we did civil unions, and not long after that, we did marriage equality. And there are lots of things in-between. It just seemed that once the wall crumbled… we were able to keep it moving.”
Also attending the event was Kathy McGuiness, state auditor. “I am here to celebrate all the hard work just like Speaker Schwartzkopf just said, and all the beautiful people who are here today who fought the fight to get us where we are here,” McGuiness stated. “This is very meaningful and worthy and as I have said before, love is love!”