Last Friday, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that a ban on gay marriage violated the state’s constitution.
The defense argued that homosexuals were not discriminated against by a ban because of the availability of civil unions.
The majority of the justices, however, disagreed. In the majority opinion, Justice Richard Palmer wrote that, “The institution of marriage carries with it a status and significance that the newly created classification of civil unions does not embody.”
The plaintiffs in the case were eight same-sex couples who applied for and were denied marriage licenses by the town of Madison. They initially brought suit on Aug. 24, 2004.
In 2005, civil unions were legalized in Connecticut, but the bill defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defense, because civil unions give the same legal rights as marriage.
Justice Peter Zarella said in his dissention opinion, “the ancient definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman has its basis in biology, not bigotry.”
The three dissenting opinions mainly disagreed with the majority on two main points. The dissents by Justices David Borden and Christine Vertefuellie essentially stated that civil unions were sufficient to satisfy the state constitution. Justice Zarella’s dissent stated that the purpose of marriage laws was “to privilege and regulate procreative conduct.” Therefore, homosexuals wouldn’t need to be included in marriage laws.
Gov. M. Jody Rell, a Republican, said of the decision, “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.”
Brent Sinn, president of the Quinnipiac chapter of Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services (GLASS) was excited about the decision.
“This is a big step for the LGBT community and it is a wonderful thing,” he said. “I am very thankful that the CT Supreme Court decided that it was discriminatory to allow civil unions but not marriage. I hope that other states will soon follow, so that the United States will be another step closer to truly being a place where all people are equal.”