Same-sex marriages and civil unions in Connecticut
House passes bill;
reactions; bill signed into law
House passes bill :
The Connecticut Legislature passed a civil union bill late in the evening of
2005-APR-13. The vote was 85 to 63. Two amendments were also passed:
- One confirms that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. This
passed by a vote of 80 to 67, largely on party lines: Republicans voted in favor
of the amendment 47 to 4; Democrats voted against it 63 to 33.
- The other limits civil unions to persons who are 18 years of age or
older. In its original form, the bill would have contained a clause similar
to that found in the marriage act which would have allowed a probate judge
to allow persons younger than 18 to join.
The bill then returned to the Senate who will have the option of
harmonizing the Senate and House bills by adding a statement that marriage in
the state is a
union of one man and one woman.
Reactions to the civil union bill:
- Representative Al Adinolfi (R-Cheshire)
remains opposed to the bill. He said:
"This bill is the same as same
sex-marriages except it's called civil unions. If you have identical twins,
one is named Mary, and one is Jane, one is Joe and one is Jim. They're still
- Representative Robert Farr (R-West Hartford)
described the bill as a reasonable compromise. It gives same-sex couples
access to the same state benefits as were previously available only to
opposite-sex couples. But it preserves the meaning of the term "marriage" to
refer only to opposite-sex couples. 1
- Senator Andrew McDonald, (D-Stamford)
co-chairperson of the Judiciary Committee predicted that the Senate will
consider the House bill in about a week, and pass it. He referred to the
amendment which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman as "political
comfort food" for those who are uncomfortable with the idea of same-sex
marriage. He said: "If that provides the political coverage they need to
vote for this legislation, so be it." 1
- Governor M. Jodi Rell (R)
issued a statement saying,
"I am pleased that the House of
Representatives passed this amendment and made it clear that while we will
recognize and support civil unions, marriage in Connecticut is defined as
the union of a man and a woman. Passage of this bill will extend civil
rights to all couples, no matter their gender, and send the unmistakable
message that discrimination in any form is unacceptable in Connecticut."
- The Family Research Council, a Fundamentalist Christian activist
"Those who support the bill fail to realize that marriage
is more than a mere word. Marriage is a social contract between a man and a
woman, constituting the most basic institution in society. Granting
government benefits normally reserved for married couples to any group, as
Connecticut seeks to do, devalues the contribution and special status
traditional marriage gives to married couples. ...Governor Rell and state
legislators are failing their constituents. The Family Institute of
Connecticut recently released a poll showing that more than 76 percent of
Connecticut residents would rather decide, through a state amendment, the
definition of marriage. This recent legislation fails to address the real
issues and only adds to the destruction of marriage." 2
The Council may be unaware of the Q Poll which
found adults in Connecticut supporting civil unions for same-sex couples by
a ratio of almost 2 to 1. Adults under 30 support of same-sex civil unions by a
ratio of almost 4 to 1. Also, the civil unions bill does not redefine marriage. 2
- Brian Brown, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut --
a socially conservative group which opposes civil unions and same-sex
marriage, said that the proposed civil unions are "...still same-sex marriage
in everything but name." 3
Bill signed into law:
The Senate approved the House-amended bill on 2005-APR-20 by a vote of 26 to
Also on APR-20, Governor M. Jodi Rell received the bill and signed it within
an hour. She commented:
"I have said all along that I believe in no
discrimination of any kind, and I think that this bill accomplishes that, while
at the same time preserving the traditional language that a marriage is between
a man and a woman."
Brian Brown, head of the socially conservative Family Institute of
Connecticut, said that his group's mission:
"...will be to let every
person know in the state of Connecticut which lawmakers voted to redefine
marriage, and which lawmakers voted to protect marriage."
He may not have
noticed that the bill contains an amendment which defines marriage in its
traditional sense as a union between one man and one woman.
Sen. Andrew McDonald, who is gay, said:
"The vote we cast today will reverberate around the country and it
will send a wave of hope to many people, to thousands of people across the
Anne Stanback, executive director of Loves Makes a Family, said: "As
important as the rights are, this is not yet equality." As expected by both
sides, her group will continue to advocate with legislators in favor of marriage
for all loving, committed couples in the state.
The law took effect on 2005-OCT-01.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Connecticut House Passes Civil Unions Bill," 365gay.com,
- Tony Perkins, "Connecticut Fails to Connect with People on Marriage,"
Washington Update, Family Research Council, 2005-APR-14.
- "Connecticut approves same-sex civil unions," UPI, 2005-APR-14, at:
Copyright 2005 to 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
First posted: 2005-APR-06
Latest update: 2007-MAY-14
Author: B.A. Robinson