MCLU Applauds Freedom to Marry Victory in Connecticut
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PORTLAND – Today, the Connecticut Supreme Court struck down Connecticut’s restriction on marriage by same-sex couples. The American Civil Liberties Union, which was co-counsel in the case along with Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, applauded the decision in Kerrigan & Mock et al v. Connecticut Department of Public Health.
“This is a positive step forward for everyone who cares about fairness,” said Shenna Bellows, Executive Director for the Maine Civil Liberties Union Foundation. “We look forward to the day when all gays and lesbians are accorded the same legal rights, dignity and respect as everyone else.”
Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Richard N. Palmer, writing for the majority, stated the following: “Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay people are entitled to marry…To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay people and another to all others.”
The majority opinion went on to say that separating gay couples through a system of civil unions fails to provide all of the benefits of marriage, stating “Although marriage and civil unions do embody the same legal rights under our law, they are by no means ‘equal’.”
The case began when eight same-sex couples sought to marry in the town of Madison, Connecticut in August of 2004. The Connecticut legislature subsequently passed a civil unions law in 2005. Today’s decision means the state of Connecticut can no longer prevent gay and lesbian couples from marrying.
In addition to GLAD and the ACLU of Connecticut, plaintiffs were represented by Maureen Murphy of Murphy, Murphy & Nugent, LLC and Kenneth J. Bartschi and Karen Dowd of Horton, Shields & Knox, P.C.
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