Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Today in Gay History

April 21, 2005

Connecticut Governor signs Civil Unions law, becoming only the second state to do so legislatively without being compelled by the courts. While affirming that marriage was only to be between one man and one woman, the key provisions of the new Civil Unions law were:

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2005) A person is eligible to enter into a civil union if such person is:

(1) Not a party to another civil union or a marriage;

(2) Of the same sex as the other party to the civil union;

(3) Except as provided in section 10 of this act, at least eighteen years of age; and

(4) Not prohibited from entering into a civil union pursuant to section 3 of this act.

Sec. 14. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2005) Parties to a civil union shall have all the same benefits, protections and responsibilities under law, whether derived from the general statutes, administrative regulations or court rules, policy, common law or any other source of civil law, as are granted to spouses in a marriage, which is defined as the union of one man and one woman.

Sec. 15. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2005) Wherever in the general statutes the terms "spouse", "family", "immediate family", "dependent", "next of kin" or any other term that denotes the spousal relationship are used or defined, a party to a civil union shall be included in such use or definition, and wherever in the general statutes, except sections 7-45 and 17b-137a of the general statutes, as amended by this act, subdivision (4) of section 45a-727a, sections 46b-20 to 46b-34, inclusive, section 46b-150d of the general statutes, as amended by this act, and section 14 of this act, the term "marriage" is used or defined, a civil union shall be included in such use or definition.

Meanwhile, a year or so later, the Supreme Court of Connecticut ruled that legal Marriage constitutionally could not be denied to same sex couples. The separate establishment of mere Civil Unions did not meet constitutional muster.

On April 23, 2009 lawmakers of Connecticut both in the House (vote 100-44) and in the Senate (vote 28-7) agreed to repeal all the old marriage laws and fully replace them with genderless quotes and all references to marriage will be fully gender -neutral. Governor Jodi Rell, a Republican, signed the law. On October 1, 2010, civil unions will cease to be provided and existing civil unions will be automatically converted to marriages. Until then, existing civil unions will be kept and couples may "upgrade" to marriage voluntarily. Same-sex marriages, civil unions and broad domestic partnerships from other jurisdictions will be legally treated as marriages in Connecticut.