Friday, October 10, 2008

Connecticut Supreme Court rules for marriage equality

Connecticut's legislature created civil unions in 2005 (without prompting from any court). This put same-sex couples on the same legal footing as couples in California, albeit under a slightly different nomenclature. Now the state's high court sides with the California court:
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.
Look for full coverage at any number of other legal blogs; I'm still working on some other posts. But this decision is very encouraging, and (I suspect) unlikely to be overturned at the ballot box. The full decision is here (PDF), and here are the three dissents.

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