Breaking News Connecticut Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage
posted by October 10 at 9:22 AMon
Civil unions were not equal enough in the “Constitution State,” according to its state constitution.
Connecticut became the third state to legalize same-sex marriage today in a 4-3 decision by the state Supreme Court.
In an 85-page decision issued at 11:30 a.m., the court ruled that the state had “failed to establish adequate reason to justify the statutory ban on same sex marriage.”
The justices noted in the majority opinion that they recognized “as the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court did in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health … that ‘our decision marks a change in the history of our marriage law.’”
The case, Kerrigan v. the state Commissioner of Public Health, was brought by eight same-sex couples who were denied marriages licenses by the Madison town clerk. They argued that the state’s civil union law was discriminatory and unconstitutional because it established a separate and therefore inherently unequal institution for a minority group. Citing the equal protection under the law, the state Supreme Court agreed.
“In accordance with these state constitutional requirements, same sex couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry,” says the majority opinion, which was written by Justice Richard N. Palmer.
From the ruling (.pdf):
It is instructive to recall in this regard that the traditional, well-established legal rules and practices of our not-so-distant past (1) barred interracial marriage, (2) upheld the routine exclusion of women from many occupations and official duties, and (3) considered the relegation of racial minorities to separate and assertedly equivalent public facilities and institutions as constitutionally equal treatment.’’ …
Like these once prevalent views, our conventional understanding of marriage must yield to a more contemporary appreciation of the rights entitled to constitutional 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 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. In accordance with these state constitutional requirements, same sex couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry.
I’m sure the court’s logic will upset Ken “civil rights is not a theological debate” Hutcherson. But he’s a bully with a book, not a bench with a gavel.
This is sure to come up at the next presidential debate, which focuses on domestic policy. Obama and McCain will, no doubt, condemn same-sex marriage. But it’s a moot point. The wall is crumbling. With three separate states allowing it—Massachusetts, California and now Connecticut—and the fabric of society remaining strong, the specter of gay marriage threatening straight marriage is soundly proven to be a canard. Which state will be next?