Marriage Equality in CT!!!

The Kerrigan case is being decided today here in Connecticut – and the stakes are marriage equality. According to Love Makes a Family CT:

We are awaiting a decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court in Kerrigan and Mock v. the CT Department of Public Health. The case was brought by GLAD on behalf of eight same-sex couples who seek to end marriage discrimination in Connecticut. Oral arguments in the case were heard by the Supreme Court in May, 2007

Win or lose the case, there will be a rally at 5:30 pm on the steps of the Capitol in Hartford. Come and support marriage equality for same-sex couples! It’s important that such supporters be visible, win or lose, for obvious reasons.

[edit 11:41 am] It seems that the appeal (which said that civil unions are good enough, and not granting same-sex marriage is not discrimination) has been overturned. Marriage equality!!!!

We conclude that, in light of the history of pernicious discrimination faced by gay men and lesbians,1 and because the institution of marriage carries with it a status and significance that the newly created classification of civil unions does not embody, the segregation of heterosexual and homosexual couples into separate institutions constitutes a cognizable harm. We also conclude that (1) our state scheme discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, (2) for the same reasons that classifications predicated on gender are considered quasi-suspect for purposes of the equal protection provisions of the United States constitution, sexual orientation constitutes a quasi-suspect classification for purposes of the equal protectionprovisions of the state constitution, and, therefore, our statutes discriminating against gay persons are subject to heightened or intermediate judicial scrutiny, and (3) the state has failed to provide sufficient justification for excluding same sex couples from the institution of marriage.

In light of our determination that the state’s disparate treatment of same sex couples is constitutionally deficient under an intermediate level of scrutiny, we do not reach the plaintiffs’ claims implicating a stricter standard of review, namely, that sexual orientation is a suspect classification, and that the state’s bar against same sex marriage infringes on a fundamental right in violation of due process and discriminates on the basis of sex in violation of equal protection. In accordance with our conclusion that the statutory scheme impermissibly discriminates against gay persons on account of their sexual orientation, we reverse the trial court’s judgment and remand the case with direction to grant the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment.

On appeal,11 the plaintiffs challenge the trial court’s determination that Connecticut
’s civil union law does not discriminate against gay persons because same sex couples who have entered into a civil union are entitled to the same legal rights under state law as married couples. The plaintiffs also renew the various state constitutional claims that they raised in the trial court. We conclude, first, that the trial court improperly determined that the distinction between civil unions and marriage is constitutionally insignificant merely because a same sex couple who enters into a civil union enjoys the same legal rights as an opposite sex couple who enters into a marriage. We also conclude that our statutory scheme governing marriage impermissibly discriminates against gay persons on the basis of their sexual orientation.

[edit by spazeboy – 1:53pm]

I want to highlight some ideas for what those of us who are celebrating this decision can do next, all of which I lifted from MikeCT at MyLeftNutmeg:

  • Attend the rally celebrating marriage equality today at 5:30 on the north side of the State Capitol. Numbers are important.
  • Join the victory party at 7 pm at the Hilton Hotel in Hartford
  • Express your support of the decision to your state legislators and ask them to change the law quickly to comply with the decision. (Presumably, the General Assembly must change the law in order to implement marriage equality. I didn’t see a deadline in the decision. Does this happen when they are in session in January? Anyone know anything about this?)
  • Get out and support candidates that support marriage equality. Thank them. Ask for a quick change in the law.
  • Vote No on the Constitutional Convention. The Family Institute wants to use this process to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn marriage equality.
  • Donate to the Vote No campaign. You can bet the religious right will be donating to the Vote Yes campaign now.
  • Donate to the Vote No on Prop 8 campaign in California. The anti marriage equality folks are gaining in the California polls.

[edit 2:12 pm] The New York Times and Hartford Courant are covering the story.

Disclaimer by Mad: my politics are obviously biased. Sorz. But not really.

24 thoughts on “Marriage Equality in CT!!!

  1. spazeboy

    I attended the rally in my capacity as an organizer for CCAG, and posted my photographs in our Flickr feed.Anyone who didn’t or couldn’t make it really missed a great event.

  2. spazeboy

    I attended the rally in my capacity as an organizer for CCAG, and posted my photographs in our Flickr feed.

    Anyone who didn’t or couldn’t make it really missed a great event.

  3. Emily

    Actually, I think I’m wrong. The NY Times says that the decision goes into affect October 28th, so it sounds like the legislature doesn’t have to do anything.

  4. Emily

    Actually, I think I’m wrong. The NY Times says that the decision goes into affect October 28th, so it sounds like the legislature doesn’t have to do anything.

  5. Emily

    Contact our state senator and representative and urge them to pass legislation supporting the decision promptly!HOUSE:Joseph C. SerraAt the Capitol:Legislative Office Building, Room 4021Hartford, CT 06106-1591(860) 240-85851-800-842-8267Joseph.Serra@cga.ct.govIn the District:P.O. Box 233Middletown, CT 06457(860) 347-0119SENATE:Paul R. DoyleEmail:Doyle@senatedems.ct.govPhone:860-240-0558Address:Legislative Office BuildingRoom 2100Hartford, CT 06106-1591And by the way, 3:15, it’s the court’s job to uphold the constitution and repeal discrimination, so the decision was totally appropriate.

  6. Emily

    Contact our state senator and representative and urge them to pass legislation supporting the decision promptly!

    HOUSE:
    Joseph C. Serra
    At the Capitol:
    Legislative Office Building, Room 4021
    Hartford, CT 06106-1591
    (860) 240-8585
    1-800-842-8267
    Joseph.Serra@cga.ct.gov
    In the District:
    P.O. Box 233
    Middletown, CT 06457
    (860) 347-0119

    SENATE:
    Paul R. Doyle
    Email:
    Doyle@senatedems.ct.gov
    Phone:
    860-240-0558
    Address:
    Legislative Office Building
    Room 2100
    Hartford, CT 06106-1591

    And by the way, 3:15, it’s the court’s job to uphold the constitution and repeal discrimination, so the decision was totally appropriate.

  7. Anonymous

    Like these once prevalent views, our conventional understanding of marriage must yield to a more contem- porary appreciation of the rights entitled to constitu- tional 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 constitu- tional principles to gay persons and another to all oth- ers.83 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 constitu- tional requirements, same sex couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry. The judgment is reversed and the case is remanded with direction to grant the plaintiffs’ motion for sum- mary judgment and application for injunctive relief. More text from the decision. I’d say the bold part makes the decision pretty clear. :-D

  8. Anonymous

    Like these once prevalent views, our conventional
    understanding of marriage must yield to a more contem-
    porary appreciation of the rights entitled to constitu-
    tional 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 constitu-
    tional principles to gay persons and another to all oth-
    ers.83 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 constitu-
    tional requirements, same sex couples cannot be denied
    the freedom to marry.

    The judgment is reversed and the case is remanded
    with direction to grant the plaintiffs’ motion for sum-
    mary judgment and application for injunctive relief.

    More text from the decision. I’d say the bold part makes the decision pretty clear. :-D

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