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Recognition of same-sex unions in Connecticut

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Template:Gay unions Connecticut enacted a civil union law in 2005 that provides same-sex couples with all of the same rights and responsibilities as marriage. However just like same-sex marriages in Massachusetts, the state cannot provide the same federal benefits of marriage due to the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Connecticut became the second state in the United States (following Vermont) to adopt civil unions, and the first to do so without judicial intervention.

The decision to provide for civil unions and not same-sex marriage was controversial and is currently subject to a challenge before the state's courts. A bill to legalize same-sex marriage is also before the state legislature.

Background of the civil union billEdit

The Connecticut Senate on April 6, 2005 voted 27-9 in favor of a bill providing for civil unions and affirming that marriage is between one man and one woman. Six of the Senate's 12 Republicans and 21 of the 24 Democrats voted for the bill. Six Republicans and three Democrats voted against it.

The Senate vote came after the bill cleared the powerful Judiciary Committee and after Governor Jodi Rell (a moderate Republican) gave her support to the measure. Governor Rell signed the bill into law on 20 April 2005, and it went into effect on October 1, 2005.

Same-sex marriage court caseEdit

In August 2004, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders representing eight gay couples from Connecticut, brought a legal action before the state's courts, challenging what they described as the state's discriminatory exclusion of same-sex couples from the right to marry. They argue that this discrimination violates the equality and liberty provisions of the Connecticut Constitution and are supported by the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union. The case is opposed by the Family Institute of Connecticut, however they have been denied intervenor status in the case.

On 12 July 2006 a Superior Court judge court ruled against them arguing that:

"Civil union and marriage in Connecticut now share the same benefits, protections and responsibilities under law. ... The Connecticut Constitution requires that there be equal protection and due process of law, not that there be equivalent nomenclature for such protection and process."

The judge concluded that denying same-sex couples the right to marry does not violate the Connecticut's Constitution.

The Supreme Court of Connecticut heard an appeal by the plaintiffs in the case, which is called Kerrigan and Mock v. Connecticut Department of Public Health, on 14 May 2007. Its decision is pending. The Attorney General's office represented the state in opposition to the appeal, but Attorney General Richard Blumenthal did not argue the case, sending a subordinate to represent the state.

The same-sex marriage billEdit

On January 31 2007, State Senator Andrew J. McDonald and State Representative Michael Lawlor, Co-Chairpersons of the Judiciary Committee, announced the introduction of a bill that would give same-sex couples full marriage rights in the state of Connecticut. The bill, HB 7395,[1] successfully passed the judiciary committee by a vote of 27–15 on April 12 2007. At the time, Connecticut became only the second state in U.S. history, after California, to have a legislative body vote in favor of same-sex marriage. Opponents of same-sex marriage have said they want a non-binding public referendum on the issue, however not a single legislator, Democrat or Republican, introduced a bill that would have done so. When it was offered in committee as an amendment, it was defeated by a bipartisan vote.

Governor Jodi Rell has said she will veto any same-sex marriage legislation that came across her desk. She said the civil unions bill that passed two years ago, "covered the concerns that have been raised".[2] The bill was never submitted to the full House or Senate prior to adjournment of the 2007 session.

Public opinionEdit

A Quinnipiac University poll[3] released April 7, 2005, the day after the Senate approved civil unions, showed that 56% of registered voters were in support of their action, while 37% were opposed to it. The poll shows 53% opposed same-sex marriage, while 42% approved.

Democrats backed same-sex civil unions 66–29 percent and gay marriage 53–42 percent. Republicans were narrowly divided on civil unions, with 45 percent in favor and 48 percent opposed. But Republicans opposed gay marriage 70–26 percent. Independent voters supported civil unions 56–37 percent, but opposed gay marriage 52–42 percent.

Women voters supported civil unions 60–34 percent, but split 47–48 percent on gay marriage. Men backed civil unions 52–42 percent, but opposed gay marriage 59–36 percent.

See alsoEdit

Template:Same-sex marriage in the United States


nl:Geregistreerde partnerschappen in Connecticut

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