Kerrigan & Mock v. Connecticut Dept. of Public Health
On Friday, October 10, 2008, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that gay and lesbian couples are entitled to full marriage equality.
On August 25, 2004, GLAD filed suit on behalf of eight gay and lesbian Connecticut couples who were denied marriage licenses in Madison, CT, challenging the State’s discriminatory denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples. The plaintiff couples, who have been in committed relationships for between 10 and 30 years, many of them raising children, contend that only marriage will provide them with the protections and benefits they need to live securely as a family. The defendants are the Department of Public Health (DPH), which supervises the registration of all marriages, and Dorothy C. Bean, the Madison town registrar of vital statistics.
There were motions to intervene in the case by the Connecticut Family Institute and two town clerks. The motions were denied by Judge Patty Jenkins Pittman of New Haven Superior Court. The clerks dropped their appeal, but the Family Institute appealed to the Connecticut Supreme Court, which affirmed the Trial Court’s denial in a decision issues August 15, 2006.
GLAD filed a motion for summary judgment and extensive briefs on the merits of the case itself. In addition, an amicus brief signed by 25 amici supporting our position was also submitted.. The Attorney General, defending the case, filed a reply brief and 4 opposing amici briefs were filed. Arguments in the motion for summary judgment were heard on March 21, 2006 in New Haven Superior Court.
On June 12, 2006, Judge Pittman denied the plaintiff’s motion, ruling that the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage did not violate the Connecticut Constitution. The plaintiffs appealed this decision to the Connecticut Supreme Court.
On May 14, 2007, GLAD Senior Attorney Ben Klein presented oral argument in the case before the Connecticut Supreme Court.
The plaintiff couples, who have been in committed relationships for between 13 and 31 years, many of them raising children, contend that only marriage will provide them with the protections and benefits they need to live securely as a family. Six of the eight couples have young children; some have faced health issues and worry about being denied access to one other in times of crisis. While all the couples are concerned about receiving the full range of protections that only flow through marriage, many also believe that only marriage will convey the depth and commitment of their relationships to their families and the world at large.