Today the Connecticut Supreme Court made their state the third to grant full marriage benefits to committed same-sex couples. This decision affirms the commitments of the seven families represented in Kerrigan & Mock v. Connecticut Dept. of Public Health, some of whom had been together for 31 years, as well as many other families across Connecticut. Congratulations to the plaintiffs in the case, as well as Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders and the Love Makes a Family campaign.
This morning, the court found that, although civil union and domestic partnership programs can offer an important recognition of the families of gays and lesbians, they do not offer the full recognition, rights, and responsibilities of marriage. The court’s affirmation of the importance of marriage could not come at a more important time.
This November, voters in three states are being asked to take these rights and responsibilities away from gays and lesbians. In Arizona, Proposition 102 would add a ban on gay marriage to the state constitution, although such a ban is already state law. California’s Proposition 8 would invalidate the over 11,000 marriages that committed couples have entered into since May. Finally, Proposition 2 in Florida will amend that state’s constitution to ban not only same-sex marriage, but also all civil unions and domestic partnerships, including those of many elderly couples. Voters in these states have an opportunity to follow Connecticut’s lead, and vote against denying marriage rights to committed couples.
The issue of gay marriage will continue to be a subject of discussion across the country. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruling points to a growing understanding among Americans: No committed couple should be denied access to the marriage rights that are essential for them to protect their loved ones.