Saturday, October 18, 2008

More on Connecticut's Same-Sex Marriage Decision

Here's another good article by Hofstra Law Professor Joanna Grossman, this one on the recent Connecticut Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decision: FindLaw's Writ - Grossman: And Connecticut Makes Three: The State's Highest Court Declares Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional.

....Connecticut's ruling is similar to the ones in Massachusetts and California, though in subtle ways it is also stronger. Connecticut's civil union law did grant same-sex couples identical rights and benefits to married couples, unlike California's domestic partnership law, which had one tangible difference. And Connecticut's ruling on constitutional sufficiency is marginally stronger than that of Massachusetts, since it came as part of a fully-litigated controversy rather than as an advisory opinion. But these distinctions are minor; it's fair to treat all three of these cases as standing for the same principle: When it comes to marriage, separate is not equal.

The civil union operates as a pragmatic step toward marriage equality - one that secures tangible benefits for same-sex couples despite the present political climate. Polls often show majority support for civil unions, but not for same-sex marriage. Despite the practical benefits, however, the stigma and second-class nature inherent in an alternative status is inescapable. That is a reality that Massachusetts, California and, now, Connecticut have rightly faced up to - and acknowledged with rulings ensuring the name of marriage is accessible to all.

It's hard to know how many states must recognize same-sex marriage before we have a critical mass, but three is a good place to start.

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

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