Connecticut Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage

In an historic but divided ruling Friday morning, the state Supreme Court gave the green light for gay couples to marry, making Connecticut the third state behind Massachusetts and California to allow same-sex marriages.

The 4-3 decision, joined by Yale lecturer Flemming Norcott Jr., cited the state constitution’s “firmly established” equal-protection-clause principles, concluding that for the Court to have “decided otherwise” would “require [it] to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others.”

Although Gov. M. Jodi Rell swiftly condemned the decision as not in line with the opinion of “the majority of the people of Connecticut,” the Court stressed that it was rooted in strictly legal, not populist, rationale.

“Many people hold deepseated religious, moral, and ethical convictions that marriage should be limited to the union of one man and one woman, and that homosexual conduct is immoral,” the Court wrote in the conclusion of the 84-page ruling. “Many hold equally strong religious, moral, and ethical convictions that same-sex couples are entitled to be married, and that homosexual persons should be treated no differently than their heterosexual neighbors. Neither view answers the question before [the court].”

The decision has already sent ripples throughout the College community. One student sent an exclamatory e-mail to a Yale Political Union party panlist. The subject? “victory!” And Fernando Reyes ’10 wrote, “I’m extremely proud to have been able to call that man my professor,” referring to Norcott, the popular Blacks & the Law lecturer.

Although Rell objected to the ruling, she said, “The Supreme Court has spoken.”

“I am… firmly convinced that attempts to reverse this decision — either legislatively or by amending the state Constitution — will not meet with success.”

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  • Eli

    What a disastrous social experiment this will be…

    Now watch as any dissent is quashed by supposedly "tolerant" liberal forces.

    What a dark day for the history of this great state.

  • Sinc

    Are animal marriages legal as well now?

  • Y'08

    Awesome! Now that marriage is no longer between a man and a woman, it won't be long before it's no longer between a human and a human either. I would like to marry Handsome Dan. Maybe we should sue…

    Bulldogs 'n humans 2gether 4ever!

  • Oxd

    "the Court stressed that it was rooted in strictly legal, not populist, rationale." Legal analysis is rarely as objective as this statement implies, especially with constitutional issues. While gay couples have the right to live without persecution and pursue all rights afforded others, it is a stretch to state that their union should be recognized as "marriage". Marriage has been traditionally defined to mean heterosexual marriage and the meanings should not be altered to avoid ambiguity.

  • Nancy Benson

    FANTASTIC RULING!!!!! A victory for us all. Well done supreme court.
    The quote by Jodi Rell is presumptuous. Unless she has polled all of the state, she has no idea how "the majority of the state" feels.
    I take complete exception to that statement! I am a heterosexual woman, married to a man. And I BELIEVE anyone who wants to marry and have a happy and healthy marriage should be allowed to do so. Whatever your sexual preference/orientation. Horray for Connecticut! I'm thrilled.

  • Hmm

    In Newton MA, a second-grade teacher announced and invited his class to attend his marriage to his long-time male companion. Totally legal; indeed, criticism amounted to hate crime…

  • Spherical Cow

    #1: No need for […]. MA, been there, done that, still there, done well.

    #2: No.

    #3: Actually, animals can't consent. Especially not bulldogs. Are you suggesting gay and lesbians are animals? I hope not.

    #4: What is "ambiguous" is why you have any problem with this. It's reassuring that gay couples should be able to live "without persecution" [wipe sweat off brow] but since when does traditional mean right? Or would you rather we put "anti-miscegenation" laws back on the books?

  • James

    So much for Yale being socially progressive.

  • Anonymous

    Commenters #1-4: I assume we're also outlawing anyone who gets married for love, then, given that marriage has traditionally been defined as a way for different families/clans to forge alliances/exchange property/etc….

  • Anonymous

    Nos. 2, 3:

    Humans and animals can't marry because animals don't have the legal standing to enter into contracts.

  • Recent Alum

    The next step now will be to impose fines for political commentators or religious leaders who make speech disapproving of homosexuality. Foreign countries like Canada that legalized homosexual marriage already do this.

    And it is only a matter of time before the government will force religious institutions like the Catholic Church to perform homosexual marriages. Think this is crazy? 20 years ago, most people would have thought of the CT Supreme Court decision as crazy as well.

  • Anonymous

    Dara L: Marriage has never been "defined" as a way for different families/clans to forge alliances, etc. Marriage has, in certain cultures and time periods, been used as a way to forge such alliances. But this is a noteworthy distinction that this has never been the definition of marriage anywhere.

  • Old Guy

    What another affront to the sanctity of marriage! Though I shouldn't be surprised by this - just another in a long line of changes to this sacred institution. Why, back when I was younger and things were pure, we were married as god intended! A mate was chosen by your parents, usually, and often had to do simply with money or station in life. None of this modern ridiculousness of 'love' or 'happiness'. You young liberals pursuing such silly notions destroy the traditions I was brought up on. I mean, what is the reasoning here about choosing someone you 'love'? People should have a CHOICE in their relationships?! Utter hogwash, obviously.

  • ?

    I am not nec. against gay marriage, I just absolutely do NOT understand how man/man trumps, e.g., multiple spouses (e.g., Islam, fringe Mormon, de facto multiples via multiple children via multiple men, etc.).

    Not saying "slippery slope," just totally missing the logic: if TWO ppl should be allowed to wed, why not 4? Why not two lesbians a male sperm donor wedding to make a "family " (two women can already be listed on the "birth" cert in…NJ? also in Canada).

    Bulldogs cannot consent, but 4 suitemates should be able to. What is the rationale against?

  • Anonymous

    No. 14:

    This is an interesting question. Part of it, I think, would have to do with the asymmetrical power relationships that seem to arise in some of the multi-spouse (that is, multi-*wife*) cases you mention--at least the ones that people have traditionally participated in (e.g., Islam, FLDS).

    That doesn't get to all the cases that you mention, though.

  • ?

    But if ppl "voluntarily" join a multi union--(and capital F feminism will tell you that ANY union w/a man is subjugation), where is the "power" diff?

    And, as noted, it is perfectly legal for a woman to have multiple children from multiple men (and thus multiple sources of court-mandated child support)… so, why can't she legalize the arrangement (if she and they wanted to do so)?

    Also: if 2 men, then what if 3 men want to marry? Where is the harm--or power imbalance--in that?

    And can a man marry his brother? his half brother? his step brother? his step father? his step son? his uncle (what if no age difference)? his cousin? step uncle? If not, why not?

    See, if marriage is NOT related to child-rearing, then why are ANY of the above arrangements illegal?

  • Anonymous

    Since heterosexuals have done such a bang-up job with destroying their own marriages ruthlessly, let's give homosexual couples a chance at it. Maybe being kept out of recognition for so long strengthens the will to make marriage succeed.

    Re: #11: I'd welcome churches to refuse to marry gay couples. That's within their purview. And then they can lose their tax exemptions, too. Seems like a fair trade-off for discriminatory practices.

  • Lori

    When it comes right down to it, the only opinion that matters is the one of our Creator. God clearly states his view on marriage and sexual morality in His holy word. God loves all people, and we should do the same. BUT, that does not mean that we should condone something that is contrary to His word, the Bible.

  • Anonymous

    They couldn't wait 3 weeks?

  • bleed blue

    I guess I would just like to know what really concerns all those who oppose gay marriage.
    1) Is it the word marriage? Was the opposition ok with "civil unions?
    2) Do you just feel that gay people do not deserve any rights because of their orientation?

    Just looking for some clarification. FYI - IF this is a religious issue - gay people are really not looking for equality in the eyes of the church - just the government.

  • Ay Caramba!

    #18 Lori, Sorry, the God you refer to is not my god, not my creator and has nothing to do with me. I DON'T HAVE ONE and I'M VERY VERY HAPPY ABOUT THAT. If you want to live by "his" word, go ahead, but recognize that is your lifestyle choice, not mine. I'd like to be left in peace from religious beliefs--any religious beliefs. I don't think that is asking too much, especially with that handy-dandy protection from religious assault called the Constitution--what's left of it, anyway (thanks a bunch, Dubbya and Cheney).

    So, really, can anyone tell me why the state is involved in the marriage discussion? All signs seem to point to marriage being a religious event. If that's the case then the state should stop having anything to do with it and leave the marriage and divorce as a matter for the religious hierarchies to deal with. If, instead of going through some religious institution, people want to have their union authorized by the state for tax or benefit purposes (or to legitimately define a family unit), then there really is no reason why that can't be between any consenting adults--though I have to draw the line at heterosexual siblings and cousins to speak to #14's point. I'd call that marriage, but if the religious folks want to trademark the word for their religious organizations (as defined and recognized by the IRS???) it isn't a great loss to our ability to communicate. It is time to separate state from religion on this issue. The religious folks can all make up their own rules for religious marriage, but if people want the legal benefits of state approval of a family union, I really am completely unable to see why sexual orientation has any relevance.

  • Anonymous

    # 16:

    As #14 wrote--the "power diff" doesn't get to all the hypotheticals you put forth. But in cases like FLDS--which are the cases that seem to actually happen in the real world--the uneven power relations are built into the culture that is being created there. Obviously it's a worldview that clashes with the 21st-century idea of marriage as an equal partnership.

    In any case, if one insists on drawing a fundamental connection between marriage and child-rearing, doesn't that fundamentally invalidate heterosexual marriages in which the couples don't want/can't have children?

    Who knows--human relationships are so much more complicated than the categories we have developed for dealing with them. And maybe there will be a time when some of the arrangements you describe are no longer illegal. I have no idea. I mean, even among heterosexual couples, marriage has come to mean such different things n 2008 than in 1958, 1908, 1508, 08, etc…

  • Clear as Mud

    Lori, I respectfully disagree - by which I mean the following is not an attack on the tenants of your Christianity but rather on the notion that God is clear about things in the Bible. Heck, there are two different Creation stories alone, and they contradict each other at times. Then there's the raping and pillaging in the Old Testament, which is encouraged at times by God, which many people say is unimportant because a new covenant was formed by Jesus for us in the New Testament. But, er, how does someone all knowing, all wise and all merciful change his mind? Does that mean God admits he was wrong before? So the God of the Old Testament was NOT all knowing or merciful?

    And then there's the many, many commandments beyond the ten that people recall - wear clothes of two different fibers? That's against God's wishes. Eat shellfish? I think that is, too. The Bible, REGARDLESS of whether one views it as the word of God, needs to be viewed in a cultural context. One of Jesus's best friends was a prostitute, right? I don't imagine befriending prostitutes around here would make my pastor very happy.

    In a nutshell, the Bible says plenty, but the idea that the Bible is counter-homosexuality comes chiefly from Leviticus 11:22 (I think). More importantly, Jesus said the two greatest commandments were to love god (1) and love your neighbor as yourself… no distinction as to whether that neighbor is gay or not. ;)

  • Y11


    Amen. The primary rant against homosexuality in the Bible does indeed come from Leviticus, along with all the other ridiculous rules that no one observes any more. The OT God was painted very differently from the NT. Maybe having a kid softened him up?

    Anyway, I'm a Christian and see nothing wrong with gays or gay marriage. It's preposterous Jesus would hold to any kind of discriminatory policies, and all you literalists who pick and choose Bible passages to fit your arguments… try going without wearing outfits made of more than one kind of clothing once in a while. Fail.

  • trad

    It's the end of the world as we know it…

    As gay couples become more prevalent in the public sphere, there will undoubtedly be a surge in the number of children who will consider themselves to be gay as, without any religious grounding (as is now very common), they will lose any sense of what is normal, or at least should be normal. Some will claim homosexuality is some type of genetic trait and is unavoidable, however, there is no evidence saying so. It instead seems that it is something that develops due to the environment one grows up in, and thus such a surge can be expected and I can’t say this would be beneficial for society…

  • Wow, #25 "Trad"

    What could you possibly mean by "should be normal"? First off, there is no evidence that children raised in gay households turn out any differently than those raised in hetero- households. Second, why do you get to define what's normal? Third, do you see the tawdry, abusive miserable world that women and children have to inhabit because of the male heterosexual and pedophiliac sexual drives of "normal" men? We have centuries of child abuse (almost entirely initiated by celibate or heterosexual men). Rape is so common place an activity it has different names depending on the circumstances as though we need shades of understanding to mitigate the guilt of the perpetrator--warfare, date rate, assault--give me a break. Take one look at the courts one morning, watch an episode of "Cops", read the paper--women and children live in a world where becoming a victim of a man's sexuality or some sick combination of violence and sexuality is commonplace. We all measure the degree from which we can ignore the threat as the gold standard of "safe". I have to say in our pathetic, failing, third world nation called America that I'm completely unimpressed by the current "normal". I think we need a new "normal", and I for one would think that an open acceptance of all people who are gentle, kind, compassionate and concerned about their neighbors and the world around them is far far more important that what they do in the bedroom.

    Of course, when I hear someone getting so defensive, I always have to ask--what goes on in your bedroom? I bet I wouldn't consider it "normal". The traditionalist doth protest too much and perchance is touched by the Larry Craig feather???? Only you know for sure, but for god's sake, be honest about it so you don't end up hurting others.

  • YaleGrad05

    Y11 - I too am Christian and oppose gay marriage as a notion. I believe that the for the sake of our children, marriage should only be recognized as between man and a woman, not man and man, woman and woman, or man and robot. To state that the Bible condones homosexuality (NT or OT) is intellectually dishonest. Bible does not condone homosexuality any more than it condones adultery, premarital sex, lying, murder, deceit, theft or other sins. The NT recognizes that all human beings are sinners but that they can be reconciled to God by placing their trust in Jesus Christ. Thereafter, Jesus says to "go and sin no more," meaning one should strive to avoid all sins (although as humans it is impossible).

  • Huh?

    #27, what do you really mean when you say "they can be reconciled to God" in real English? Why would I want to or need to?

    I just don't see how you say I have a discordant relationship with a nebulous idea that then needs to be reconciled by putting trust into another nebulous idea.

    You can call me a sinner, but that doesn't make me a sinner, and of course, so what? Call me a witch and burn me at the stake, but that doesn't make me a witch (though it is a practice that has served the Christian hierarchy well for political and social control--how convenient). The whole religion seems based on fear and that is not how I wish to run life. How much better our world would be if religion didn't have its insidious impact in our government or command such a role in our public lives. Keep it to yourselves, I say!

  • Sinc

    To the poster above, whether the animal can consent to an act is debatable. If an animal objects, it is able to show the objection with physical resistance. The lack of physical resistance and the performance of the act may indicate acceptance and the formation of a contract. If the definition of marriage is extended beyond the marriage of a man and woman, it is not far fetched to include man and animals within the definition.

  • YaleGrad05

    #28 - The discordant relationship exists due to sin. All human beings are sinners when compared to a perfect and holy God. But Jesus Christ died as a propitiation for your sins and putting your trust in him would give you peace with God. Peace with God brings about true peace within your own life, which is why it is desirable.

  • Anonymous


    It seems to me that you would have to show that animals had the mental capacity to make a marriage contract in order for their "consent" to be meaningful.

    And do you *really* think that an animal's non-resistance (non-resistance to *what,* by the way?) can somehow be constructed to mean an acceptance of an offer of marriage in the eyes of a reasonable bystander? And when you say "the performance of the act," what act did you have in mind? An exchange of vows? A trip to the local courthouse?

    Do you *really* think the argument you put forth would ever hold water with respect to an offer and acceptance of marriage? Or are you just trying to make a rhetorical point, as I suspect you were in your initial posting? (Incidentally, it's not clear what your first post is actually asking: are you asking if animals can now marry each other, or if humans and animals can now marry?)

  • Huh?

    Yale Grad05 in your #30 posting, you do realize this makes no actual sense, right? You're parroting almost meaningless words that have been repeated often enough to become stultifying familiar, but strip away the imbued value and go to the actual words and the meaning is completely absent. I can't suspend my critical thinking skills at this moment.

    This is your belief structure and you're welcome to it, but it is offensive to me that you are approaching the rest of the world as if it is theirs, too.

  • Mud Again

    #27 (YaleGrad05):

    I don't think I or anyone else said the Bible condones homosexuality, but it also doesn't 'condone' listening to an iPod, or swimming in a lake, or eating pineapple after 6pm. What's important is that Jesus never once said homosexuality is wrong (just as, to continue my analogy, he never said listening to an iPod is wrong). Put another way, Jesus didn't -condemn- homosexuality either, though he did condemn those other things you mention such as adultery, murder, etc.

    In the absence of Jesus decreeing homosexuality is wrong, why do you assume it is? He preached love - so if two men love each other, what's wrong with that? Why should you get to celebrate what you view as love yet not allow that same celebration to others who, except for their sexual orientation, aren't all that different from you?

  • YaleGrad05

    #32 Words like propitiation and reconciliation are terms of art in the Bible. I invite you to spend some time reading the New Testament (and the Old Testament to understand the context) and apply your critical thinking skills to comprehend the meaning of such terms. Secondly, I was merely responding to theological and Biblical issues raised by others when I referred to my belief structure and never implied that the rest of the world subscribes to my belief structure.

  • YaleGrad05

    #33 I agree that Jesus never addressed the issue of homosexuality. But most Biblical scholars establish Christian doctrine from Pauline epistles since the Gospels are considered to be historical rather than doctrinal. Pauline epistles clearly categorize homosexuality as a sexually impure sin (see e.g. Romans 1).