Connecticut High Court Grants Gay Marriage Rights
Posted on October 10, 2008
Filed Under Uncategorized
Same-sex couples won the right to marry in Connecticut in an historic ruling by the Supreme Court today.
Citing the equal protection clause of the state constitution, the justices ruled that civil unions were discriminatory.
In a 4-3 decision released at 11:30 a.m., the majority wrote that the state’s “understanding of marriage must yield to a more contemporary appreciation of the rights entitled to constitutional protection.”
“Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same sex partner of their choice,” the majority wrote. “To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others.”
In a statement released minutes after the decision was announced, Gov. M. Jodi Rell said she disagreed with it, but would uphold it. She said she was proud to sign the state’s civil unions law in 2005, the first in the nation enacted without a court mandate, and thought it was “equitable and just.”
“The Supreme Court has spoken,” Rell said. “I do not believe their voice reflects the majority of the people of Connecticut. However, I am also firmly convinced that attempts to reverse this decision — either legislatively or by amending the state Constitution — will not meet with success. I will therefore abide by the ruling.”
Opponents were obviously disappointed in the ruling. “The court has just usurped democracy in Connecticut and redefined marriage by judical force,” said Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut.
The opposition will now turn its sights to the November election, when voters will be asked whether the state should convene a constitutional convention. “Connecticut voters will have one opportunity on Nov. 4 to reassert their right to self government. We must vote yes.”
Unsatisfied with the civil unions, eight same-sex couples had brought the case, Kerrigan v. the state Commissioner of Public Health, after they were denied marriage licenses in 2004 by the Madison town clerk, who was following instructions issued by the state attorney general’s office.
The state, arguing that civil unions already provide all the rights and protections of marriage, prevailed in a Superior Court ruling in July 2006. The couples appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, which heard three hours of arguments on the case in May 2007. SOurce: Hartford Courant
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