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Connecticut court okays same-sex marriage

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled today that same-sex couples have the right to marry, reversing a lower court ruling that civil unions had offered the same rights and benefits as marriage, the Associated Press reports.

The court ruled 4-3 that gay and lesbian couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry under the state constitution.

Connecticut joins California and Massachusetts as the only states that allow same-sex marriage. High courts in New York, New Jersey and Washington have ruled that there is no right to same-sex marriage under their constitutions.

In his majority opinion, Justice Richard N. Palmer wrote that the court found that the "segregation of heterosexual and homosexual couples into separate institutions constitutes a cognizable harm," in light of "the history of pernicious discrimination faced by gay men and lesbians, and because the institution of marriage carries with it a status and significance that the newly created classification of civil unions does not embody."

In his dissent, Justice Peter Zarella said any decision on gay marriage should be left to the legislature

"The ancient definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman has its basis in biology, not bigotry," Zarella wrote. "If the state no longer has an interest in the regulation of procreation, then that is a decision for the legislature or the people of the state and not this court."

The Hartford Courant writes that eight same-sex couples had brought the case after they were denied marriage licenses in 2004. A Superior Court ruled in July 2006 that civil unions already provide all the rights and protections of marriage. The couples then appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Connecticut joins California and Massachusetts as the only states that allow same-sex marriage. High courts in New York, New Jersey and Washington have ruled that there is no right to same-sex marriage under their constitutions.

Related Topics:Politics
Posted:October 10, 2008 at 11:15AM
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Connecticut court okays same-sex marriage