Posts Tagged As: Connecticut

Same-Sex Marriages Begin Today In Connecticut

Jim Burroway

November 12th, 2008

Marriages will become available sometime after 9:15 a.m.:

Superior Court Judge Jonathan Silbert has scheduled a hearing at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday in New Haven to enter the final judgment in the case that allows same-sex marriages in Connecticut. Once the hearing ends, couples can pick up marriage license forms at town and city clerk’s offices.

It’s unclear how many couples will get married. The state public health department says 2,032 civil union licenses were issued in Connecticut between October 2005 and July 2008.

On October 10, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that gay couples had the right to marry under the Connecticut Constitution rather than settling for separate-but-almost-equal civil unions. On November 4, voters rejected a constitutional convention, which marriage opponents hoped would be their opportunity amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Connecticut’s constitution cannot be amended by an initiative process.

Connecticut Marriage Date: November 12

Timothy Kincaid

November 3rd, 2008

The AP is reporting that the Connecticut Supreme Court has set a date:

Gay marriages in Connecticut can start Nov. 12.

Superior Court Judge Jonathan Silbert on Monday scheduled a hearing on that date to enter the final judgment in the case that allows same-sex marriages in the state.

The proceeding is scheduled for 9:15 a.m. Attorneys in the court case say that once the hearing ends, couples can pick up marriage license forms at town and city clerk’s offices.

Governor Rell Guessed Wrong

Timothy Kincaid

October 14th, 2008

In the wake of the Connecticut Supreme Court’s ruling allowing same-sex couples the same access to marriage as opposite-sex couples, Governor Jodi Rell expressed her disagreement with the ruling. She felt that the state’s Civil Unions legislation was both admirable and adequate.

I disagree with today’s State Supreme Court ruling but as governor, I will uphold it. I continue to believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.

I also believe that the historic civil union law that I proudly signed in 2005 is equitable and just. We were the first state to enact such a law through legislative action and not a court mandate.

The Supreme Court has spoken. I do not believe their voice reflects the majority of the people of Connecticut. However, I am also firmly convinced that attempts to reverse this decision – either legislatively or by amending the state Constitution – will not meet with success. I will therefore abide by the ruling.

Well, the first poll has come it and it seems that Governor Rell misjudged the majority of the people of Connecticut. (Hartford Courant)

Fifty-three percent of Connecticut residents support Friday’s historic ruling by the state Supreme Court that legalizes gay marriage, while 42 percent of residents polled said they do not.

Connecticut Supremes: Who They Are and How They Voted

Timothy Kincaid

October 10th, 2008

Who are the Supreme Court Justices of the State of Connecticut and how did they vote? Here’s a little bit of information.

Voting for Marriage Equality:

The majority opinion was written by Justice Richard N. Palmer. He was appointed associate justice in 1993 by Governor Lowell Weicker of the “Connecticut Party” (Weicker left the Republican Party to run independently). Palmer is a Democrat.

Justice Flemming L. Norcott was appointed associate justice in 1992, also by Weicker. Norcott is a Democrat.

Justice Joette Katz was also appointed associate justice in 1992 by Weicker. She is also a Democrat

Lubbie Harper is an appellate court justice who sat on the panel for the case. He stepped in when Chief Justice Chase Rogers recused herself due to a possible conflict of interest. Haper was nominated to the appellate court by Governor Jodi Rell, a Republican, but is a Democrat.

Voting in opposition:

Justice David Borden was the active chief justice at the time of the hearing. He was appointed in 1990 and is the only justice to have been appointed by a Democrat, Governor William O’Neil. He was replace in 2007 by Chief Justice Chase Rogers, an independent. Bordon is a Democrat. He argued that gay people are not adequately disadvantaged politically to be considered a suspect class.

Justice Christine S. Vertefeuille was appointed associate justice in 2000 by John Rowland, a Republican. Vertefeuille is a Democrat.

Justice Peter T. Zarella was also appointed in 2001 by Rowland. Zarzella is the sole Republican voting on the issue. His separate dissent stated that marriage laws are for the regulation of procreation.

Interestingly, every justice deciding in favor of marriage equality was either appointed by a Republican Governor or by an independant Governor who had served for decades in the House and Senate as a Republican, even seeking the party’s nomination for President.

This is a situation that closely follow that of the California Judiciary where three of the four affirmative votes were from Republicans appointed by Republican Governors and in Massachusetts where three of four affirmative votes for marriage came from justices that were Republican Governor appointments.

Which makes me wonder. Do those in the Republican Party who rant and scream about “activist judges” know that they are critizing their own Governors?

Connecticut Supreme Court Okays Same-Sex Marriage

Jim Burroway

October 10th, 2008

The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled 4-3 that same sex couples are entitled to marriage (PDF: 591 KB/84 pages).

PALMER, J. The issue presented by this case is whether the state statutory prohibition against same sex marriage violates the constitution of Connecticut. The plaintiffs, eight same sex couples, commenced this action, claiming that the state statutory prohibition against same sex marriage violates their rights to substantive due process and equal protection under the state constitution. The trial court rendered summary judgment in favor of the defendant state and local officials upon determining that, because this state’s statutes afford same sex couples the right to enter into a civil union, which affords them the same legal rights as marriage, the plaintiffs had not established a constitutionally cognizable harm. We conclude that, in light of the history of pernicious discrimination faced by gay men and lesbians,1 and because the institution of marriage carries with it a status and significance that the newly created classification of civil unions does not embody, the segregation of heterosexual and homosexual couples into separate institutions constitutes a cognizable harm. We also conclude that (1) our state scheme discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, (2) for the same reasons that classifications predicated on gender are considered quasi-suspect for purposes of the equal protection provisions of the United States constitution, sexual orientation constitutes a quasi-suspect classification for purposes of the equal protection provisions of the state constitution, and, therefore, our statutes discriminating against gay persons are subject to heightened or intermediate judicial scrutiny, and (3) the state has failed to provide sufficient justification for excluding same sex couples from the institution of marriage. In light of our determination that the state’s disparate treatment of same sex couples is constitutionally deficient under an intermediate level of scrutiny, we do not reach the plaintiffs’ claims implicating a stricter standard of review, namely, that sexual orientation is a suspect classification, and that 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. In accordance with our conclusion that the statutory scheme impermissibly discriminates against gay persons on account of their sexual orientation, we reverse the trial court’s judgment and remand the case with direction to grant the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment.

On page 66 of the majority opinion:

Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles 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 guarantee of equal protection under the law, and our obligation to uphold that command, forbids us from doing so. In accordance with these state constitutional requirements, same sex couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry

The judgment is reversed and the case is remanded with direction to grant the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and application for injunctive relief.

In this opinion NORCOTT, KATZ and HARPER, Js., concurred.”

UPDATE:Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell (R) has issued a statement:

I disagree with today’s State Supreme Court ruling but as governor, I will uphold it. I continue to believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.

I also believe that the historic civil union law that I proudly signed in 2005 is equitable and just. We were the first state to enact such a law through legislative action and not a court mandate.

The Supreme Court has spoken. I do not believe their voice reflects the majority of the people of Connecticut. However, I am also firmly convinced that attempts to reverse this decision – either legislatively or by amending the state Constitution – will not meet with success. I will therefore abide by the ruling.

UPDATE: Because this is a ruling that touches on state law and the state constitution, there is no recourse for appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Connecticut Constitution does not have an initiative process for placing a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot. The Constitution however does mandate a question to be placed on the ballot every twenty years asking voters if they wish to call a constitutional convention. That question is now on the ballot this year. Opponents say they hope to use that ballot question to force a constitutional convention to change the constitution to allow for an citizen’s initiative process.

It is unclear right now what steps need to be made either in the courts, the legislature, or the governor’s office to allow same-sex marriages to become available.

Marriage Rights Around the World

Timothy Kincaid

May 15th, 2008

The following countries offer some form of recognition to same-sex couples:


Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, United States (Massachusetts, California)

Civil Unions

New Zealand, Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul), Argentina (Buenos Aires, Rio Negro), Mexico (Coahuila), Uruguay, United States (Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey)

Registered Partnership or Domestic Partnership

Denmark, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Finland, Luxembourg, , Slovenia, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Italy (City of Padua), Switzerland, Hungary, Australia (Tasmania), United States (Maine, Washington, Oregon)

Other Methods of Limited Recognition

France (PACS), Germany (Life Partnership), Croatia (Law of Same-Sex Relationships), Andorra (Stable Union of a Couple), Mexico (Mexico City – PACS), Colombia (Common-law marriage inheritance rights), Israel (Limited recognition of foreign legal arrangements), United States (Hawaii – Reciprocal Benefits; New York – recognition of out-of-state legal marriages)

Although recognition is in a rapid state of change, this is my best understanding of the current rights provided. Several nations are in the process of adding or revising recognition.

Paying More – Getting Less

Timothy Kincaid

March 26th, 2008

gaytax1.bmpHey gay couples, grab your checkbooks. It’s that time of year where you get to pay more than your brother and his wife.

If you are part of a couple, you usually would benefit from filing an income tax return as a married couple. While this is not always the case, it is especially true for those couples in which one of the partners has a much lower income than the other.

Some states have decided that they value their gay citizens and seek to encourage stable families and have changed their laws so as to treat gay couples the same as heterosexual couples in their tax law. Massachusetts, California, Vermont, and Connecticut all allow for couples to file joint tax returns (this may also be the case in New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maine, Washington and Oregon and perhaps for some Rhode Island and New York residents – I haven’t researched every state).

But while this is to be commended and advanced in more states, it isn’t as simple as it seems. The federal government doesn’t care what the states have determined, they only recognize marriage as between a man and a woman. Thus, gay couples get to jump through hoops and make multiple tax returns. This becomes costly whenever you have a complicated return.

For example, a California couple in a Domestic Partnership has to prepare its state return as though they were a married couple. But CA tax law relies on federal tax treatment of certain situations, so this couple often has to prepare a federal income tax return as a married couple in order to apply the appropriate treatment on their state returns.

But they can’t file that federal joint return. The IRS won’t accept it. Instead they have to prepare federal returns as though they were unrelated roommates.

Add in some complexity, such as multiple state returns, and you may end up paying your accountant a much higher rate due to the extra time they incur.

If you can. Some accountants may not be familiar with the procedures at all.

H&R Block, the nation’s largest tax firm, is being sued by the ACLU because their online do-it-yourself system can’t accomodate Connecticut’s civil unions. Connecticut gay couples have to pay about $150 more and go into the H&R Block office in order to get their returns prepared correctly.

So the next time you hear some anti-gay whine about “special rights”, remind them that you pay more for your government than they do.


Reader John brought to my attention one of the stupidest and cruelest inconsistencies.

If your brother receives insurance covering his wife, it’s a tax free benefit. If you receive insurance covering your same-sex spouse, the federal government considers that to be a taxable part of your income. Yes, they actually make you pay income taxes on the amount of health insurance that you receive from your company for your spouse if you are gay.

I guess that concern about Americans without health insurance extends only to heterosexuals.

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