Connecticut Supreme Court Demands Gay Marriages
The Connecticut Supreme Court today issued an astounding opinion on a gay marriage case, saying that the unavailability of marriage to all people is unconstitutional. The language, particularly addressing the inequality of the state’s currently available civil unions, was unbelievably stern. “Especially in light of the long and undisputed history of invidious discrimination that gay persons have suffered … we cannot discount the plaintiffs’ assertion that the legislature, in establishing a statutory scheme consigning same sex couples to civil unions, has relegated them to an inferior status, in essence, declaring them to be unworthy of the institution of marriage…. Accordingly, we reject the trial court’s conclusion that marriage and civil unions are ‘separate’ but ‘equal’ legal entities.” Wow.
And also: “That prejudice against gay persons is so widespread and so deep-seated is due, in large measure, to the fact that many people in our state and nation sincerely believe that homosexuality is morally reprehensible.” And! “[G]ay persons clearly lack the political power that African-Americans and women possess today…. We therefore agree fully with the California Supreme Court’s recent observation in recognizing gay persons as a suspect class under the California constitution….”
But what of the marriage-rights crowd? “Although we acknowledge that many legislators and many of their constituents hold strong personal convictions with respect to preserving the traditional concept of marriage as a heterosexual institution, such beliefs, no matter how deeply held, do not constitute the exceedingly persuasive justification required to sustain a statute that discriminates on the basis of a quasi-suspect classification.” Holy smokes.
The means by which the unavailability of gay marriage in Connecticut will be fixed is yet to be determined.
In 2005, Connecticut passed a civil-unions bill. The year previous, a gay-marriage case was brought; it went down in Superior Court in 2006, because the court regarded civil unions and marriages as giving the same rights. (They do not, actually! Civil unions do not grant the many rights accorded on a federal level to a marriage.) The case was appealed to the state Supreme Court last year. Meanwhile, a bill was approved in the legislature’s judiciary committee to grant full marriage rights to gay people; it has stalled, because the governor has promised to veto. Currently, only California and Massachusetts have gay marriage; California may lose that in the election next month.
Thanks for this Angie!