Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Gay Marriage Before the State Supreme Court

From the Courant:
Lawyers for eight same-sex couples seeking the right to marry will file their brief in the state Supreme Court today, setting the stage for an epochal legal battle on whether Connecticut permits gay marriage.
[...]
The essence of the appeal is encompassed by a rhetorical question in the brief, a draft of which The Courant obtained Tuesday:

"Given the legislature's enactment of the civil union law after this case was filed, and its acknowledgement of both the common humanity of gay people and their rights to equal treatment in their family lives, is it constitutional for the legislature to deny marriage while it also creates, only for gay people, a separate legal regime, with a different name, and deems them eligible for all state-based rights available to married spouses?" (Tuohy)

This lawsuit was dismissed in Superior Court earlier this year, on the grounds that civil unions provide the same legal rights as marriage.

Gay marriage/civil unions were a non-issue in the 2006 campaigns. I have to think that, even if the courts do force the legislature to legalize gay marriage, that most people in Connecticut will simply shrug and go about their daily lives.

But I could be wrong about that.

Source
Tuohy, Lynne. "Gay Couples Demand Marriage." Hartford Courant 22 November, 2006.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

"... most people in Connecticut will simply shrug and go about their daily lives."

Exactly. Maybe not the Gay people but everyone else. How about a state-wide referendum like CA?

Anonymous said...

Why do we need a state wide referendum on gay marriage when we have representative government who can pass a law allowing gay marriage and then we can be done with it and move onto something important for everyone like picking the state cookie?

Anonymous said...

How about a Statewide Referendum on Slavery?

Constitutional rights are not subject to the will of the majority.

The real solution is Civil unions for ALL and keep marriage a Church issue.

cgg said...

We passed civil unions. We can surely pass gay marriage, especially now. Democrats have some political capitol in CT. Let's use it!

Anonymous said...

It be great to keep marriage a Church issue if there weren't 200 years or so of doing otherwise. Just keep Church marriages seperate from civil marriages.

Anonymous said...

cgg - you are right. I think a gay marriage bill would easily pass both the House and the Senate. I expect there will be a big push for it as well lead by Sen. McDonald and Rep. Lawlor. Here are the remaining questions: Would it pass by a veto proof majority? Probably not. Would Rell veto the bill? I have no idea. Would there be political ramifications on a statewide basis for Democrats? Most likely not; only but a few legislators may be in jeopardy by the way they vote.

Anon. 1:16 - I think you may have the best proposal. Treat all couples the same under civil law and allow religion to claim marriage. Personally, I want government out of our lives as much as possible. How would "traditional" marriage proponents feel about that I wonder?

As for the Supreme Court, there are at least 2 votes for gay marriage, but that may be it. My guess is that the Court will hear the case en banc (all 7 justices rather than 5). I think that the majority will find that the civil union bill provides gay lesbian couples the rights guarenteed under the state constitution and then leave it up to the legislature if it wants to grant "full marriage".

This wil definitely be an isue this year. Many CT legislators want CT to be the first state to vote for marriage on its own, and not in response to a court order ala MASS.

Anonymous said...

cgg - you are right. I think a gay marriage bill would easily pass both the House and the Senate. I expect there will be a big push for it as well lead by Sen. McDonald and Rep. Lawlor. Here are the remaining questions: Would it pass by a veto proof majority? Probably not. Would Rell veto the bill? I have no idea. Would there be political ramifications on a statewide basis for Democrats? Most likely not; only but a few legislators may be in jeopardy by the way they vote.

Anon. 1:16 - I think you may have the best proposal. Treat all couples the same under civil law and allow religion to claim marriage. Personally, I want government out of our lives as much as possible. How would "traditional" marriage proponents feel about that I wonder?

As for the Supreme Court, there are at least 2 votes for gay marriage, but that may be it. My guess is that the Court will hear the case en banc (all 7 justices rather than 5). I think that the majority will find that the civil union bill provides gay lesbian couples the rights guarenteed under the state constitution and then leave it up to the legislature if it wants to grant "full marriage".

This wil definitely be an isue this year. Many CT legislators want CT to be the first state to vote for marriage on its own, and not in response to a court order ala MASS.

Anonymous said...

Why in the world would gays want marriage? I think we should just trade, all gays can marry but heterosexuals cannot. They don't realize how good they have it!!

I cannot think of a kinder act that society can place upon a group of people. Imagine being told you never ever have to experience the headaches that go along with marriage, my goodness maybe there is a chemical imbalance with these people..What are you thinking?

Genghis Conn said...

Huh?

Anonymous said...

I agree with 1:57 - we all have the right to the pursuit of life liberty, and happiness but the pursuit of unhappiness isn't covered anywhere but then again maybe it should be. What would Chief Justice Sullivan have to say about all this?

MikeCT said...

A couple ways to help get equal marriage legislation - join the e-mail list of Love Makes a Family and contribute.

Anonymous said...

we should have the residents of Connecticut vote on the measure in a referrendum, but Liberals will have nothing of it-

Anonymous said...

Can we vote on the budget every year by referendum? How about the state cookie? How about the union contracts?

The Republicans beleive in representative government except when it's about a wedge issue.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 3:03, you are right, of course. As well, you Democrats know that you know what's best for all of us, and you believe it is better to tell people what they can and cannot do rather than let them decide on their own. You do this because, as you know, you believe you are smarter and superior to the rest of us.

Shadow said...

> Constitutional rights are not subject to the will of the majority.
>
> The real solution is Civil unions for ALL and keep marriage a Church issue.

Exactly - well not a church issue per se, or even a religious issue necessarily, but a social issue (agnostics get married, too, you know).

But aside from that one detail, you are dead on: Constitutional rights are non-negotiable, whether you're talking about equal protection under the law that guarantees gay couples the same rights as everyone else, or the right of free speech that allows people to define, evolve, and express language without the state attempting to redefine the meaning of those words; there is a fundamental principle behind our first amendment that you can't outlaw expression, whether it be a word, an idea, or the meaning of a word. "Marriage" is no exception.

Now personally, gays getting married doesn't affect my life one bit; however, seeing as you capitalized the word church, I can assume you probably don't feel the same way. But regardless of that, the bottom line is you and I BOTH understand that our personal opinions on gay marriage are irrelevant; equal protection under the law means civil unions for everyone, everywhere PERIOD, and free speech means free speech PERIOD. People can quibble all they want, but the Constitution settled both these points long ago.

Anonymous said...

How about a statewide referendum on banning guns, even just handguns? You "conservatives" up for that?

Anonymous said...

Yep, we'll double our numbers in the state house from the 2nd and the 5th District

Anonymous said...

If consitutional rights are non-negotiable why do the same liberals who have discovered a right to gay marriage after 217 years now want to repeal the First Amendment by banning negative ads?

"All rights are equal, but some rights are more equal than others"

Shadow said...

I gather from your mention of my words that your post was at least partly directed towards me; in case I wasn't clear, although I think all couples have the same rights legally under the Constitution, I also believe that government has no right to redefine the WORD marriage, or any word for that matter. The American judiciary is not about legislating the words that come out of our mouths, but protecting the freedoms guaranteed to every citizen.

A committed gay couple deserves every single right that married couples have; of that there can be no question. But a judicial edict that commands millions of people to define the word marriage differently than they want to will only cause a backlash, slowing the advance of tolerance and progress on all these issues. We have to keep in mind that the social tradition of marriage reaches back farther than the legal tradition of marriage, and that language itself only evolves through social change, not by government edict.

turfgrrl said...

WHoever said keep marriage in the Church and civil unions for all has got the right idea. Individual rights matter more.

AB said...

I dont know any other way to say it.....gay marriage is wrong. Homosexuality its immoral. It is clearly stated inthe bible in numerous passages. There is a reason why only man and woman can pro create. Not man and man, not woman and woman, bu tman and woman.

Personally if two men or two woman wish to have a sexual relationship its their business, but when they march in the streets and boldly proclaim there desire to have sex with each other, its offensive. As a heterosexual, I dont march, I dont proclaaim my affinity for sex with woman in my workplace...its not an issue. Gays have every other right, but when it comes to the holy sanctity of marriage, the line needs to be drawn.

Fact is, the overwhelming majority of americans oppose gay marriage. So for legislatures to impose its legal viability upon us is a disgrace.

Genghis Conn said...

Aaron,

That's religion. We're talking about what the state does, not what churches do.

I strongly, strongly disagree that homosexuality is immoral. It isn't. It's just another way of being normal.

And where the heck do you work? Wow.

Anonymous said...

Folks, people of all orientations are going broke with energy costs, the health insurance problem isn't going away, and our local economy is adding payrolls slower than a small market MLB team.

So why is it gay marriage is once again the "must address" issue crowding out consideration of everything else?

Anonymous said...

the fact that people like Aaron seem to focus on an issue like other people's sex lives and other similar social issues as a political issue is very revealing to the shallowness of the political debate in this country. The objective of politics to provide stable policies that guide all our lives are thrown out of line with such irrelevancies which can only bring violent reactions. Aaron and his ilk are not interested in the here and now but are posturing for their own sexual insecurities or a special place in some afterlife paradise.

AB said...

Sorry Anon, but i dont have any sexual insecurities. It is the gay community that has thrust there sexuality upon the rest of us. It is there issue not one we created. When a group needs to represent itself based solely on their sexual preference and they march in the streets, it becomes an issue. No one really cares if someone is gay, I dont in that it doesnt affect my ability to work with you,share a meal with you or socialize with you. it becomes an issue when you make the mere fact that you are gay an issue in every aspect of life. Why do US companies sponsor gay pride days? How does ones sexual orientiation impact business? It doesnt.

Dont give me this garbage about how I or my ilk as you put it, make homosexuality an issue. I dont flout my heterosexuality and I sure dont need someon to flout their homosexuality. In that regard its not my business. I have gay relatives, I dont love them any less or treat them any different, yet at the same time they dont flout their sexual preference upon me in any way. Its those that do that raise the issue.

Gay marriage is a seperate issue and the fact is, marriage is and has always been defined as between one man and one woman.......as according to the bible. if a gay couple wishes to join in civil union, so be it, but in marriage under the eyes of God and country...I am sorry....it isnt right and an overwelhming majority of Americans agree. If you wish to say that my position is based upon religion, fine, you wont chnage my belief.

But dont paint me as some sort of racist, homophobic, antisemetic, right wing lunatic....I am none of those things...but then again, name calling and slander is what the liberal left does best isnt it?

One last comment you say that focusing on social issues is an attempt to divert attentiopn from real issues. Well the fact is that this country is in a terrible moral decline brought on my an absecne in religon and devotion to God. do some reseacrh and find out how the family dynamic has changed and its relation to individual and family beliefs in God. You will find that studies have shown that those who least identify themselves as relgious and faithful to God and involved in relgious organizations are most likely to divorce, to be involved in broken families and so forth. This country is going in the wrong direction becuase their is a lack of ethics, responsibility, respect and morality, all of which come from the divine Grace of God.

Anonymous said...

Aaron B., it ain't the local Republicans or Amann-style Dems who keep this issue on the front burner every year. They actually think government ought to worry about what governments ought to worry about

There is now a push for tougher drunk driving laws. This would have been a job for the Judiciary Committee. Why are the laws so weak? So what have they been doing for years instead of worrying about crime?

MikeCT said...

Let's paraphrase Aaron B's arguments and place them in the context of 1950s arguments for Jim Crow laws:

Sorry Anon, but i dont have any racial insecurities. It is the black community that has thrust there [sic] color upon the rest of us. It is there [sic] issue not one we created. When a group needs to represent itself based solely on their race and they march in the streets, it becomes an issue. No one really cares if someone is black, I dont in that it doesnt affect my ability to work with you,share a meal with you or socialize with you. it becomes an issue when you make the mere fact that you are black an issue in every aspect of life. Why do US companies sponsor black pride days? How does ones race impact business? It doesnt.

AB said...

Mike CT, your atgument is a load of garbage. Gays are not prevented from voting or from eating at lunch counters or from mixing with heterosexuals etc. To compare the Black Civil rights movement to the gay pride movement and attempt to legalize gay marriage is an insult to the Black civl rights movement and to everyone who opposes gay marriage.
To even equate me in some way with some racist rhetoric that was used agains african americans is disgusting and quite frankly, deserves an aplogy on your part.

An FYI, the majority of black americans in poll after poll, opposes gay marriage.....why.....well once again, black amercian are by and large a religious group guided by the morals and ethics they learn from the teaching of Jesus Christ....

Shadow said...

Aaron - You speak as if we all believe in God, and are all Christians; marriage transcends Christianity, and it transcends religion period, otherwise how do you account for all the married agnostics and athiests? You speak of morality in such religiously divisive terms, but how do you account for the fact that many of the most kind and moral people I have met in my life don't believe in God? If your argument wasn't seventeenth century enough by that point, then came the reasoning that the Bible says it's immoral, therefore it is, and we should legislate it - as if we live in a forced Christian state. Theocracy is about ten thousand miles east of here, if that's what you're looking for.

Your religiously presumptive and divisive tone aside, I DO agree that there is a morality vacuum created as a result of the breakdown of social institutions, and the subsequent lack of direction provided for children, but the solution is to teach youth the shared morality of civilization that transcends religion; these are basic principles that exist in all religions and resonate in the words of our Constitution. Fairness, decency, modesty, honesty; these are virtues we can all agree are vital, regardless of the fact that you happen to believe in a God and I happen not to. But trying to divide people along religious lines will only delay the emergence of a shared morality teaching that we will need in coming generations, particularly with the expansion of science and the decline of organized religion; religious or not, people benefit immensely from spirituality and faith, and suffer greatly in the absence of morality and virtue.

Back to the topic at hand, though, Barack Obama recently said something about gay marriage, and put it quite well:

"I am a strong believer that there has to be a strong sense of full citizenship enjoyed by all – ability to pass on property, receive hospital visitation. And I see it as human rights legislation. I struggle with issues of gay marriage. Keep in mind the context. Miscegenation Laws. . .my own parents. It’s difficult for me to counsel be patient, you wait. If I were advising the Civil Rights Movement of the last century on whether to first go after voting rights or to overturn miscegenation laws, I would advise the former."

MikeCT said...

your atgument is a load of garbage. Gays are not prevented from voting or from eating at lunch counters or from mixing with heterosexuals etc.

AB,
Every struggle for equality is unique, but you're now veering from bigotry into willful ignorance:

A few points in evidence of anti-gay bigotry and hatred:
* 51 percent of lesbians and gay men in Pennsylvania reported experiencing discrimination in their lifetime
* 54 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual New Yorkers experienced discrimination in employment, housing, or public accommodation since 1996, with eight percent reporting that they were fired specifically because of their sexual orientation; 27 percent also reported being called names such as "faggot" and "dyke" in the workplace
* 35 percent of respondents in residents of Topeka, KS reported receiving harassing letters, e-mails, or faxes at work because of their sexual orientation, and 29% had observed discrimination based on sexual orientation seeking social or government services
* 1,968 incidents of anti-LGBT harassment or violence were reported in 2002. Since it began to track hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation bias in 1992, the FBI has consistently ranked anti-gay violence as the third most frequent form of bias-motivated crime. In 2002, the FBI reported that 17 percent of the total 7,462 reported hate crime incidents were motivated by bias related to sexual orientation.

There is no comprehensive federal law to protect gays and lesbians against discrimination. There are only 14 states with laws that protect gay workers against employment discrimination in the public and private sectors.

Your only real argument against marriage equality is religious. You're entitled to your own theology, but as a Christian, I'm offended by your use of Jesus' legacy to promote bigotry. Jesus, who never spoke a word about gay people and was always took the side of the oppressed and outcast, would be horrified at the way his legacy has been twisted.

Personally if two men or two woman wish to have a sexual relationship its their business, but when they march in the streets and boldly proclaim there desire to have sex with each other, its offensive.

You don't object to gay people's existence, as long as they don't organize and demand equality. Yours is a condescending bigotry, content as long as the victims know their place and don't get uppity.

Anonymous said...

Let's see how well a hetero pride day goes over in Northampton

Shadow said...

Another point that shows how bizarre it is for Aaron B. to speak as if all Americans are religious:

In a Harris Poll conducted between October 4 and October 10 with a nationwide sample of adults, 42% of Americans are not certain there is a God. That's an 8% increase since the same poll question was asked three years ago.

So make no mistake about it, AB; if you want a more moral society going forward, then you have to stop doing trying to achieve it based soley in the image of your own personal religious beliefs, and assuming every American has the same belief in a god that you do. The numbers just aren't there.

(And that's not withstanding the fact that even people who do have the same religion as you disagree strongly with you; after all, just look at MikeCT, the only other person here who explicitly identified themselves as a Christian, and he's challenging you far more ardently than anyone here)

Anonymous said...

This issue should be put to bed by letting any two people of the age of consent to enter into a civil marriage, which has never been defined as a religious marriage BTW, with all the rights and responsibilities therein. Then everybody can move on to other issues and not that the GA has spent a whole lot of time on this. Unfortunately, the opponents are the ones dragging it out.

Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately, the opponents are the ones dragging it out."

Say what????

Who's filing the lawsuits and filing the bills?

Not the dreaded Christian Right.

If LMF would just go away, so would the entire issue. There's no impetus at all from the right side of the spectrum in this state

MikeCT said...

If LMF would just go away, so would the entire issue. There's no impetus at all from the right side of the spectrum in this state

Yeah, if gay people just stopped asking for equal treatment, then the right wing would stop trying to keep them in their place! Backlash is all the fault of the gays/ people of color/ women/ poor. If only they would just shut up!

Anonymous said...

If you think anyone could summon up a scintilla of interest in this state to modify the civil union laws or the antidiscrimation laws you are either 1. paranoid or 2. Brian Brown

Methinks civil union repeal would fail 130-20 in the House and 31-5 in the Senate

The public believes the problem has been dealt with. The activists on this issue are the ones keeping the controversy alive.

Anonymous said...

Let's reverse this situation.

Let's say in Colorado or South Carolina a compromise law on gay rights which the public approved of was signed last year. The moderate Democratic governor and the moderate Republican Speaker of the House opposed an effort to repeal all laws on sexual orientation.

Undeterred, lawsuits have been filed by religious activists seeking to have the courts do what the legislature and the Governor opposed. The co-chairmen of the legislature's judiciary committee are hard-line Republican conservatives and ardent evangelical Protestants and believe their duty is to have state law reflect their moral beliefs.

Meanwhile important issues to state residents are left unaddressed.

The reaction of liberals to these circumstances would be?

bluecoat said...

I wish the legislature would pass same sex marriage laws - civil ones not religious ones as pointed out above - to give any two partners of whatever persuasion the same rights.

My position has nothing to with any moral beleifs. I just think that in real life Tonto and the Lone Ranger should have the opportunity to get same rights as Desi and Luci or Ward and June Cleaver.

AB said...

Shadow, you pointed out that a recent Harris poll stated that 42 percent of those surveyed are not sure there is a God....well thta just points out how the lack of belief in a God is becoming more prevalent in a society so sorely lacking in personal morality and integrity. A society more concerned with personal success and materialism. The north east is the best example of that. Its a geographic area overwrought wtih rude arrogant and materialistic people. Quite frankly, its just about the worst place in America to raise a family, which is why we are so intent on moving to a community down south where folks have real values such as family and God above all else.

People in general in the northeast have there butts so far up their wallets they have no clue as to whats truly important or necessary in life.

bluecoat said...

I hope you enjoy the south, ab. I have lived and worked there. The folks down south are great with the same work ethic I have seen up north. They all pull their pants on the same way us northerners do, though, so I don't know what you expect to find there different from CT.