One month after the Connecticut Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, the first same-sex marriage license in the state was issued in New Haven on Wednesday morning.
Barbara and Robin Levine-Ritterman signed their license to marry at 10 a.m. at City Hall, 17 years after their Jewish commitment ceremony and three years after entering into a civil union.
As the Levine-Rittermans exited the foyer of City Hall — marriage certificate in hand — a crowd of gay rights activists and supporters along Church Street erupted in cheers, presenting the couple with red roses and blowing bubbles in celebration.
The gathering occurred directly after a court proceeding at the New Haven Superior Court, where the gay marriage case began in 2004. Judge Jonathan Silbert said the case was “vigorously litigated and brilliantly litigated” and thanked both sides for their work in bringing about a resolution.
Other same-sex couples involved in the original court case were present at City Hall to obtain their own marriage licenses and to congratulate one another on what many called a “historic moment.”
In a 4-3 ruling on Oct. 10, the Connecticut Supreme Court reversed a state ban on gay marriage and stated that the state constitution’s equal protection clause guaranteed gay couples the right to marry.
The decision was contested by a state ballot initiative in last Tuesday’s election that would have allowed changes to be made to the state constitution, including a possible ban on gay marriage. The initiative failed; 59 percent of voters voted “No” on the question while 41 percent voted “Yes.”
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal ’73 said the state would do everything in its power to uphold the ruling of the Supreme Court.
“We did our job and we did it vigorously and steadfastly,” Blumenthal said. “We will make sure this order is enforced and honored.”
As audience members exited the courtroom, many dissolved into tears, exchanged grins with their partners and embraced their children. Robin Levine-Litterman said she hopes the days when gay marriage was prohibited soon fade into history.
“Love is love,” Robin Levine-Ritterman said. “Now, the state recognizes it.”