Kerrigan v. State of Connecticut
In 2004, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders launched this marriage equality case on behalf of several Connecticut same-sex couples denied licenses to marry. The trial court ruled against the couples and GLAD appealed directly to the state’s highest court. Then in 2005, the Connecticut Legislature passed a civil union law. Our brief, filed after the civil union law passed, provided additional material on the point that Connecticut’s passage of a civil union law does not cure the constitutional violation of inequality.
The question of whether a separate status fulfils the constitutional promise of equality when couples want marriage is now before high courts in Connecticut and California (where the domestic partner law is the virtual equivalent of a civil union law). In New Jersey and Vermont, high courts passed this question to the state legislatures, which resulted in civil union laws. In Massachusetts the high court said that only marriage would do.
Lambda Legal's Impact
Although Connecticut is already one of a handful of states with comprehensive protections for same-sex couples, this case if successful will give couples the rights, benefits and obligations of marriage under state law, along with the word itself. It will also bolster a fundamental goal of Lambda Legal’s marriage work: to prove that a separate status or system is never truly equal.
- December 2006 Lambda Legal files amicus brief in the Connecticut Supreme Court.