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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