DETROIT -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan applauded the Connecticut Supreme Court’s decision today that barring same-sex couples from marrying violates the state’s constitution. The National ACLU, ACLU of Connecticut co-counseled the case with Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders.
“Today’s decision makes it clear that it’s unfair to treat same-sex couples who make the same commitment that others do differently under the law,” said Kary Moss, Executive Director for the ACLU of Michigan. “As Connecticut joins California and Massachusetts in ruling for marriage equality, it is time to consider a repeal of Michigan’s discriminatory constitutional provision that not only denies the fundamental right to marry, but also prohibits civil unions and any government recognition of same-sex couples and their families.”
In May 2008, the Michigan Supreme Court held that Michigan’s constitutional ban on marriage equality for same-sex couples also prohibited the provision of health care benefits to domestic partners.
In today’s decision, Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Richard N. Palmer wrote, "Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay people are entitled to marry To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others."
The case was brought in 2004 in New Haven Superior Court on behalf of eight gay and lesbian Connecticut couples who had been denied marriage licenses. The couples have now been together for between ten and 32 years and are raising a total of 14 children.
The plaintiffs in Kerrigan & Mock et al v. Connecticut Department of Public Health were represented by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and the ACLU of Connecticut. Maureen Murphy of Murphy, Murphy & Nugent, LLC and Kenneth J. Bartschi and Karen Dowd of Horton, Shields & Knox, P.C. were cooperating counsel.
A PDF of the decision can be downloaded at: www.aclu.org/lgbt/relationships/37127lgl20081010.html