On October 10, 2008, the Connecticut Supreme Court, citing the state constitution's equal protection clause, ruled 4-3 in favor of granting equal marriage rights to same-sex couples. The decision in Kerrigan v. the State Commissioner of Public Health was filed by eight couples who were turned down for marriage licenses in 2004 and did not believe the state's 2005 civil-union law granted them equal rights to married couples. Striking at the heart of discriminatory traditions in America, the court , in language that often rose above the legal landscape into realms of social justice for a new century, recalled that laws in the not-so-distant past barred interracial marriages, excluded women from occupations and official duties, and relegated blacks to separate but supposedly equal public facilities.
' Like these once-prevalent views, our conventional understanding of marriage must yield to a more contemporary appreciation of the rights entitled to constitutional protection,' Justice Richard N. Palmer wrote for the majority in the decision that explored the nature of homosexual identity, the history of societal views toward homosexuality and the limits of gay political power compared with that of blacks and women.
'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,' Justice Palmer declared. 'To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others.'
Same-sex couples have been able to marry in Connecticut starting Wednesday, November 12, thanks to this wonderful victory. On that day, at 9:15, the New Haven Superior Court, where the case started in 2004, entered final judgement in the case and ordered the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, following which couples all over the state are now able to go to their town clerk's office and get a marriage license. It was a truly historic and very happy day.
Much more information on this decision and its ramifications can be found at http://www.lmfct.org/site/PageServer?pagename=home
, as well as at http://www.glad.org/
, where couples can learn more about How to Get Married in Connecticut.