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Same-sex marriages and civil unions in Connecticut

House passes bill;
reactions; bill signed into law

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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 twins." 1

  • 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." 1

  • The Family Research Council, a Fundamentalist Christian activist group, wrote:

"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 8.

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 country."

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.

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Connecticut House Passes Civil Unions Bill," 365gay.com, 2005-APR-13, at: http://www.365gay.com/
  2. Tony Perkins, "Connecticut Fails to Connect with People on Marriage," Washington Update, Family Research Council, 2005-APR-14.
  3. "Connecticut approves same-sex civil unions," UPI, 2005-APR-14, at: http://washingtontimes.com/

Site navigation:

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Couples > California > here

Copyright 2005 to 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
First posted: 2005-APR-06
Latest update: 2007-MAY-14
Author: B.A. Robinson

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