Marriage Equality Victory in Connecticut

Court Rules Connecticut Must Embrace Marriage Equality for Same-Sex Couples

October 10, 2008

Today in an historic decision, Connecticut’s Supreme Court ruled that the state can no longer bar gay and lesbian couples from marrying.  Connecticut becomes the third state, after Massachusetts and California, in which same-sex couples can wed.  The decision will likely to take effect shortly after November 7, 2008.

“We’re elated,” said attorney Bennett Klein of GLAD, which filed the lawsuit in August 2004 on behalf of eight same-sex couples.  “Today’s victory fulfills the hopes and dreams of gay and lesbian families to live as full and equal citizens in Connecticut.  Marriage is unparalleled in the dignity, respect, and protection it gives families.” GLAD brought the lawsuits that led to marriage equality in Massachusetts in 2004 and civil unions in Vermont in 2000.

In April 2005, eight months after the lawsuit was filed, Connecticut’s legislature approved, and the governor signed, a civil union law.  In May 2007, GLAD argued before the Supreme Court that the denial of marriage by the civil union law was arbitrary and failed to provide gay and lesbian citizens with the equal treatment the constitution requires.

“This is just an extraordinary day,” said Beth Kerrigan on behalf of herself and her partner, Jodie Mock, the named plaintiffs in the case.  “We are overjoyed to tell our twin boys that we will be married, just like their friends’ parents.  We are profoundly grateful to live in a state which recognizes our equality.”

The ruling came in a 4-3 decision issued on the basis of equal protection and a determination that sexual orientation receives intermediate scrutiny. The majority opinion, written by Justice Richard N. Palmer, concludes that: “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 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.”

“We salute the plaintiffs, who hung in there through thick and thin,” said GLAD Executive Director Lee Swislow.  “We are also profoundly grateful to Love Makes a Family (LMF) for advancing and elevating the conversation about gay and lesbian issues.  They deserve a great deal of credit for this amazing win.  And we recognize the critical role Connecticut’s legislature played in moving the ball forward with civil unions.”

The couples in the case are: Beth Kerrigan and Jody Mock of West Hartford; Janet Peck and Carol Conklin of Colchester; Jeffrey Busch and Stephen Davis of Wilton; J.E. Martin and Denise Howard of Stratford; Barbara and Robin Levine-Ritterman of New Haven; John Anderson and Garrett Stack of Woodbridge; Geraldine and Suzanne Artis of Clinton; and Gloria Searson and Demaris Navarro of New Haven.

The legal team representing the couples includes GLAD attorneys Mary Bonauto, Bennett Klein, Karen Loewy and Jennifer Levi; Maureen M. Murphy of Murphy, Murphy & Nugent in New Haven; Kenneth J. Bartschi and Karen Dowd of Horton, Shields & Knox in Hartford; and Renee Redman of the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union.

Related events today:

2:00 GLAD will hold a press conference, with the plaintiffs at Hartford Hilton Hotel.
315 Trumbull Street
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 728-5151

5:30 LMF will hold a victory rally on the North steps of the Capitol Building, Hartford, CT (visit Love Makes A Family’s Website at:

7:00 GLAD and LMF will host a victory party at the Hartford Hilton.


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