In the first major test of the strength of Delaware’s civil union legislation, a Delaware Superior Court judge approved an order retroactively applying spousal testimonial privilege to a same-sex couple who were married in California in 2008, but their partnership was not legally recognized in Delaware until the state’s civil union law went into effect earlier this year.

Spousal testimonial privilege is a benefit granted to married couples in which spouses cannot be compelled to testify against each other in a court of law regarding private conversations. Although it has been a long-standing legal standard in opposite-sex marriages, it has been an infrequent issue in same-sex marriages and civil unions.

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