Friday, October 10, 2008

Connecticut Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage

HARTFORD, Connecticut (CNN) -- The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Friday that gay and lesbian couples have the right to get married.

The ruling makes Connecticut the third state, after Massachusetts and California, to decide its constitution mandates treating citizens equally when applying for marriage licenses, regardless of their sexual orientation.

"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 ruling said.

"To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others. The guarantee of equal protection under the law, and our obligation to uphold that command, forbids us from doing so. In accordance with these state constitutional requirements, same sex couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry."

The decision would only allow gay couples the state benefits of marriage. The Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, denies gay couples federal recognition of state marriages, which provides for federal benefits with regard to Social Security, taxation, immigration and others.

Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and New Jersey have civil unions.

In 2005, Connecticut began to allow civil unions, intended to be marriage in all but name, without being forced by its courts. Two years later, Connecticut's Legislature tabled a bill allowing marriage.

Eight same-sex couple sued the state, saying that civil unions were not equal to marriage and that Connecticut's Constitution guaranteed them equal treatment.

In the dissent, one justice said he disagreed with the majority's opinion that "sexual orientation is a quasi-suspect class under our state constitutional provisions guaranteeing equal protection of the laws" because that point of view "unduly minimizes the unique and extraordinary political power of gay persons in this state."

A representative of Connecticut's commissioner of public health said he does not know when the state might start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The suit was called Kerrigan and Mock v. the Connecticut Department of Public Health.


Anonymous said...

So states are legalising and supporting same gender marriage. So what? A heterosexual married couple, in any state, will get ALL of these benefits, yet a homosexual married couple, in any state, will get NONE of these benefits:

Autopsy examination consent
Burial rights of service member’s dependents
Child custody in divorce proceedings
Cohabitation on military and other controlled properties
Community property control, division, acquisition, and disposition
Exemption from conveyance tax
Court notice of probate proceedings
Death benefit for surviving spouse for government employee
Domestic violence protection orders
Existing homestead lease continuation of rights
Regulation of condominium sales to owner-occupants exemption
Funeral and bereavement leave
Joint adoption and foster care
Joint tax filing
Property tax exemption for homes of totally disabled veterans
Income tax deductions, credits, rates exemption, and estimates
Insurance licenses, coverage, eligibility, and benefits organization of mutual benefits society
Legal status with stepchildren
Making, revoking, and objecting to post-mortem anatomical gifts
Making spousal medical decisions
Spousal non-resident tuition deferential waiver
Payment of wages and workers compensation benefits after worker death
Permission to make arrangements for burial or cremation
Right of survivorship of custodial trust
Right to change surname upon marriage
Right to enter into prenuptial agreement
Right to inheritance of property
Right to sue for tort and wrongful death
Right to child support after divorce
Spousal privilege and confidential marriage communications
Spousal immigration benefits
Spouse of veteran medical care discount
Status as next-of-kin
Visitation privileges to imprisoned spouse
Visitation privileges to spouse in hospital

And that's just scratching the surface! Unless same sex marriage is supported by the federal government, it is usless. Sates give about 20% of all marriage rights, the federal government gives 80%. Unless the federal government recognises gay marriages (it won't ever because of the Defense of Marriage Act) then that 80% will be ever elusive to gay couples in ANY state.

Jason Hughes said...

Yes, Anon, everythign you say is true.

But with every state that recognizes the right of same-sex couples to wed, it becomes more and more likely that the federal ban on recognizing those marriages will fail under constitutional scrutiny...

The 14th amendment declares that states will recognize all contracts (including marriage) given out by all other states, and so also be recognized by the federal government. Eventually (in the not-so-distant future), one of these cases will make it to the Supreme Court, and even in the face of a super-conservative team of justices, states and the federal government must, in a strict and not-so-strict interpretation of the constitution, recognize those valid marriages.

Thus, while every state may not perform such marriages, they will all have to recognize them and thus all the benefits and rights of marriage will and must be conferred no matter where the couple decides to reside...

So all the rights are slow in coming, but coming they are... Much to the chagrin of many a conservative...

Victory is sweet...

FCSuper said...

Keep marriage straight, NO on 8!

It is the default position of California state law that same-sex marriage is recongized.

Even if 8 does pass, the courts have already recongized this is an equal treatment issue, and so the CA constitutional amendment becomes a defacto violation of the 14th of the U.S. Constitution (equal rights).

Again, even if 8 passes, Article 4 of the U.S. constitution makes clear that every state much recognize the contracts of other states.

As soon as the matter is handled in the federal courts, it will be settled for each state which must then comply (either by changing their laws or having them found to be unlawful in a court of law).