A law providing for civil unions as an alternative to gay marriage was ruled by the Connecticut State Supreme Court to violate equal protection principles:
“Like these once prevalent views, our conventional understanding of marriage must yield to a more contemporary appreciation of the rights entitled to constitutional protection,” Justice Richard N. Palmer wrote for the majority in a 4-to-3 decision that explored the nature of homosexual identity, the history of societal views toward homosexuality and the limits of gay political power compared with that of blacks and women.
“Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same-sex partner of their choice,” Justice Palmer declared. “To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others.”
The ruling was groundbreaking in various respects. In addition to establishing Connecticut as the third state to sanction same-sex marriage, it was the first state high court ruling to hold that civil union statutes specifically violated the equal protection clause of a state constitution.
The governor will enforce the ruling but not bless it:
“The Supreme Court has spoken,” she said. “I do not believe their voice reflects the majority of the people of Connecticut. However, I am also firmly convinced that attempts to reverse this decision, either legislatively or by amending the state Constitution, will not meet with success.”
The majority of the people of Connecticut are irrelevant, this is about civil rights and protecting them against a majority’s blithe indifference to the rights and morally inviolable needs of a vulnerable, long maligned and marginalized minority.
3 states down, 47 to go.