Bill passed by Legislature and signed by Gov. Rell codifies court decision recognizing marriage for lesbian and gay couples, recognizes out-of-state marriages and other relationships.
Washington - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, congratulated Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the Connecticut state Legislature for enacting Senate Bill 899, legislation that codifies last year's court decision recognizing marriage for lesbian and gay couples. The new law will also recognize out-of-state marriages, civil unions, and broad domestic partnerships by lesbian and gay couples as marriages in Connecticut, and, among other things, would merge Connecticut civil unions into marriage by 2010. SB 899 passed the Senate yesterday by a 28-7 vote and passed the House late last night by a 100-44 vote. Gov. Rell signed the bill into law today most provisions are effective immediately.
"This is a great day for loving, committed couples in Connecticut, their families, and everyone who supports marriage equality," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "We congratulate and thank Gov. M. Jodi Rell, Sen. Andrew McDonald, Rep. Mike Lawlor, and the other legislators who voted for this bill, as well as Love Makes a Family, and other organizations and activists, including HRC members, for working to build support for this legislation. This is another important step toward equality, and it's exciting to see another state legislature overwhelmingly pass marriage equality legislation."
Rep. Mike Lawlor added: "For the first time, gay and lesbian citizens of Connecticut can experience true equality under state law. In 2000 an overwhelming bi-partisan vote allowed same-sex partners to become "co-parents" of children. In 2005 Governor Rell, a Republican, signed the first civil union law passed without a court order to do so. Last year our state's highest court declared that separate and unequal treatment of gay and lesbian couples violated the equal protection clause of the Connecticut Constitution. Last night, the General Assembly repealed anti-gay provisions of our state law and ratified the Supreme Court's decision establishing marriage equality.
Lawlor continued: "For ten years the people of Connecticut have considered whether and how to legally recognize the committed relationships of same-sex couples. Over time, public opinion acknowledged a simple fact: committed gay and lesbian couples deserve the same recognition as committed straight couples. At each milestone along this road, a bi-partisan consensus endorsed legal recognition of gay and lesbian relationships. Today, the Governor, the General Assembly, the Judicial Branch and the people of Connecticut are in agreement. Marriage equality is here to stay."
Read Lawlor's comments on the strategy that ultimately led to marriage equality in Connecticut at the Back Story blog.
Connecticut will be the second state to enact marriage equality in statute. Connecticut's state supreme court ruled last October that lesbian and gay couples have the freedom to marry under the state constitution. (Connecticut's legislature had previously enacted a civil unions law in 2005). Massachusetts was the first state to recognize marriage equality, pursuant to a court decision in 2003. On April 3, 2009, Iowa's state supreme court unanimously ruled that the state constitution guarantees lesbian and gay couples the equal right to marry. On April 7, 2009, Vermont became the first state to recognize marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples through legislation when the legislature voted to override Gov. Jim Douglas's veto.
New York recognizes marriages by lesbian and gay couples legally entered into in another jurisdiction. California recognized marriage by lesbian and gay couples between June and November of 2008, before voters approved Proposition 8, which purports to amend the state constitution to prohibit marriage equality. The Proposition 8 vote has been challenged in court a decision by the state supreme court is expected by June.
Legislatures in Maine, New Hampshire, and New York are currently considering legislation that would permit lesbian and gay couples to marry under state law.
Lesbian and gay couples do not receive federal rights and responsibilities in any state. To learn more about state by state legislation, visit: www.hrc.org/state-laws.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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