Friday, October 10, 2008

Marriage Equality in Connecticut

PFLAG heralded a decision from the Connecticut Supreme Court, released today, legalizing marriage equality for same-sex couples. Eight same-sex couples challenged the state’s ban on marriage in 2004, arguing that their constitutional rights to equal protection and due process were violated when they were denied marriage licenses. Today, the Supreme Court agreed with the couples, making the state the third in the country, along with Massachusetts and California, to officially recognize same-sex marriage.

“PFLAG congratulates our friends, and celebrates with our families, in Connecticut today,” said Jody M. Huckaby. “The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled in favor of families, in recognition of our fundamental right to marry the person we love and in the best interest of our core belief in liberty and justice for all. All families are stronger when every family is recognized and protected by the law. No loving couple should face discrimination and prejudice and today’s ruling eliminates those barriers once and for all.”

In its ruling, the court found that, “the institution of marriage carries with it a status and significance that the newly created classification of civil unions does not embody,” and, as such, “the state’s bar against same sex marriage infringes on a fundamental right in violation of due process and discriminates on the basis of sex in violation of equal protection.”

“[O]ur conventional understanding of marriage must yield to a more contemporary appreciation of the rights entitled to constitutional protection,” the court concluded. Doing so, it found, “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 decision concluded by find that, “same-sex couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry.”

“Today, Connecticut couples have won an essential victory in the struggle for basic legal rights and the dignity of all people,” said Huckaby. “Tomorrow, and every day after that, all of us at PFLAG will remain vigilant in ensuring that those rights are never denied again and never taken away from those we love. Equality is moving forward, slowly but surely, in state after state. None of us must rest, however, until every state recognizes the rights of every citizen.”

For more information on today's ruling, visit The Advocate online.

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