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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Marriage Suit Fails

Superior Court Judge Patty Jenkins Pittman has ruled against eight same-sex couples who sought the right to marry after they were denied marriage licenses. Undoubtedly these couples will appeal and ultimately seek to have their case determined by the State Supreme Court.

We haven't been able to see a copy of the opinion yet, and although the State Judicial Department website is excellent, it does not typically post copies of opinions, only "docket sheets" which show a list of motions and how they were decided.

The only quotes we have seen have been from the AP service story which, interestingly, seems to have been edited in Connecticut news websites. The Boston Globe has the most extensive story we've seen on this.

"Civil union and marriage in Connecticut now share the same benefits, protections and responsibilities under law," Judge Patty Jenkins Pittman in New Haven wrote. "The Connecticut Constitution requires that there be equal protection and due process of law, not that there be equivalent nomenclature for such protection and process...."

Jenkins Pittman, who noted how the legislature took "the courageous and historic step" of passing civil unions legislation, said lawmakers created an identical set of rights for same-sex and opposite-sex couples. She said the plaintiffs' claims that civil unions are a form of separate-but-equal segregation that aren't recognized in other jurisdictions don't rise to the "level of legal harm" required to rule in their favor.

She also dismissed claims that the term "civil unions" is inherently offensive.

"Though they argue that separate is never equal, they have been subjected to no tangible separation at all; and the court rejects the argument that the rhetorical separation of marriage versus civil union is enough to invoke an equal protection or due process analysis," the judge wrote.

Jenkins Pittman said it's up to the legislature to change the terminology.

While this is good news for traditional family advocates, it's still disturbing. Judge Jenkins Pittman recognizes something that the radicals pretend isn't so: that civil unions are the equivalent of marriage in all but name. Let's continue to pray for marriage in our State. The next stop is the Appellate Court; the Supreme Court does, however, likely have the ability to take the case if it so chooses once any appeal is filed.

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