Press Room

April 20, 2005

Category: Civil Unions

Connecticut Governor Signs Civil Unions Law

'Connecticut has taken a significant step giving families the rights and protections they need,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign praised Connecticut legislators for passing a civil union bill that will offer all the state-level rights and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples and their families.

"Connecticut has taken a significant step giving families the rights and protections they need," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "This is an important law that will strengthen all families in Connecticut. Thanks to the Legislature and Governor Jodi Rell, as well as Love Makes a Family and thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people across the state, Connecticut families are significantly more protected today than they were yesterday."

Solmonese continued, "This is a major step toward ensuring equality for all families. The conversation about marriage and the rights and protections only it provides will continue. As we are doing across the country, we will continue to tell the stories of GLBT families in Connecticut so that soon there will be no need for two lines at the town clerk's office - one for GLBT families and one for everybody else. Today we celebrate a great accomplishment. Tomorrow our work continues."

On April 7, 2005, Quinnipiac University released a poll showing 56 percent of Connecticut voters support civil unions and 46 percent support marriage for same-sex couples. The measure passed the House April 13 by an 85-63 vote, with an amendment that defines marriage to exclude same-sex couples. The Senate passed the bill on April 6, 2005, by a 27-9 vote, with six of the 12 Republican senators voting for the measure.

"Without their commitment to full equality - marriage equality - the Legislature might have viewed civil unions as an end product," said Love Makes a Family President Anne Stanback in a statement. "But today, there isn't anyone in the state of Connecticut who believes that this conversation is over. In fact, nearly everyone, on both sides of this debate, acknowledges that the conversation about marriage equality will continue."

Vermont has a similar civil unions law. California, with their comprehensive domestic partnership law, grants almost all the state-level rights, benefits and protections granted to opposite-sex couples. Three other states - Hawaii, New Jersey and Maine - recognize same-sex relationships and offer them handful of rights. Maryland's Legislature recently passed a similar domestic partner bill. Only Massachusetts gives same-sex couples the full right to marriage.