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October 10, 2008


In a stunning and unexpected announcement at 11:30 am (est) this morning the Connecticut Supreme Court voted to legalize same-sex marriages.

The court ruled that civil unions were discriminatory based on the equal protection clause of the state constitution. In a 4-3 decision, the court's 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. To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others."

According to the Hartford Courant:

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.

The GLBT community in Connecticut and the rest of the country has been waiting for over 16 months for the court's decision. When it was finally handed down this morning it caught most of us by surprise.

Governor M. Jodi Rell released a statement just minutes after the ruling was announced. The Governor said that she disagreed with the decision but would uphold it. She added that she was proud to sign the country's first state civil unions law in 2005 and thought it was "equitable and just."

She went on to say,
"The Supreme Court has spoken. 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."

Defeated, the opposition will now concentrate their efforts on the November election when voters will be asked whether or not the state should convene a constitutional convention. But, as the governor said, that effort doesn't seem likely to succeed.

With Massachusetts and California, this now brings the total number of states that have legalized gay marriages to three...and counting.

UPDATE... Governor rell said: "The Supreme Court has spoken. I do not believe their voice reflects the majority of the people of Connecticut."

She was wrong!

According to the Hartford Courant a poll was taken by the The University of Connecticut following the State Supreme Court's decision. It found that 53% of Connecticut residents agreed with the court.

In the Governor's defense, the poll does seem to support her belief that any attempt to reverse that decision doesn't seem likely to succeed.

Well Governor, at least you were half right.

Lest we forget however - the Governor and the state of Connecticut are still to be highly commended for being the first in the nation to lead the way with Civil Unions.

UPDATE... The Waterbury, Ct Republican-American reported that gay couples won't have to live in Connecticut to get married there and they won't have to wait either.

All that potential gay marriage couples have to do is complete a marriage license application, provide identification and make a sworn statement that the information they provide is true.

Connecticut doesn't have a residency requirement and doesn't impose a waiting period like two dozen other states do.

Congratulations to all of you who are about to be married there.