But not before an amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman is added
I'm disappointed with the state House this morning. You can read about it here, and see the breakdown of how representatives voted here.
The addition of a "definition of marriage" amendment was not necessary, although perhaps a few lawmakers felt a bit more comfortable about passing the bill with it attached. Well, good for them. It probably would have passed without it, though, and Blumenthal's legal opinion that the bill wouldn't allow marriage probably meant that Rell would have signed it regardless. But the House decided to take the safest middle road here, and the bill that was passed is now a bit less of a milestone and a bit more of a roadblock. It's a bitter victory at best.
But let's take stock for a moment. While the bill is not perfect (it never was), it's still a landmark piece of legislation. This is the furthest any legislature in the country has gone on this topic without being compelled by a court. It waters down the social conservatives' argument that this particular issue is being advanced solely by politicized judges, and not by the elected representatives of the people. Most importantly, the rights this bill grants are the same legal rights that married couples enjoy.
This bill would have been impossible thirty, twenty or even ten years ago, and it's currently impossible in most of the rest of our country. So yes, progress has been made, even though it's not all that we might have hoped. More progress will be made in the future, and perhaps there will come a time when civil unions are so common and obviously harmless that to deny same-sex couples the simple word "marriage" will seem absurd. The people of that time will look back on this bill and shake their heads at how strange the denial of marriage seems.
But, they will conclude, it was a marvelous piece of legislation for its time.