A lot of folks on my friends list here on LJ are upset about Propositions 8 and 102, which overturned gay marriage rights in California and elsewhere. I’ve left this as a comment in some people’s journals, but I also thought I’d post it here in the hopes of having people see this as at least a small victory for the GLBT cause.
On April 6, 2005, Connecticut’s state legislature created a Civil Unions law, which allowed homosexual couples to … well, unite, with a civil union license. The law was signed by Republican governor Jodi Rell on April 20, 2005, and it took effect on October 1 of the same year. Connecticut was thus the second state to create civil unions (after Vermont), but the first to do so without judicial instruction.
In August 2004, eight homosexual couples brought a lawsuit against the state charging that civil unions violated the state’s equal protection clause in the Connecticut Constitution, and that the rule should be about marriage.. The CT chapter of the ACLU acted as amicus curiae in the case. While the Superior Court ruled against the case, on October 10, 2008, the State Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that the equal protection and liberty clauses in the State Constitution applied. Although Governor Rell has indicated disapproval of the decision, she would uphold it. The law, and the Supreme Court’s modifications of it, are due to take effect on November 12, 2008, when Connecticut will begin performing same-sex marriages. Not civil unions — marriages.
Opponents of the measure wanted to get an anti-gay marriage amendment on the ballot. They couldn’t. Connecticut’s constitution doesn’t allow ballot initiatives; they have to originate in the General Assembly. However, we do have Article 13, which requires that the voters be asked every 20 years if they would like to call a constitutional convention to amend the state constitution. Nutmeggers (that’s what Connecticut citizens are called, it’s a silly nickname but what can you do?) voted [apparently decisively] AGAINST calling a Constitutional Convention. It’ll be twenty years before this opportunity comes ’round again, enough time to make it a non-issue for most of the voters.
In the meantime, to amend our constitution, the General Assembly has to pass an amendment by a 2/3s majority, then the state Senate has to pass it by a 2/3s majority, and then the voters have to pass it by a 2/3s majority. It’s just not a supermajority that gay marriage opponents are going to get anytime soon — this is a state where the Legislature created civil unions on its own initiative, after all, without any input from judges, and where the state attorney general and governor have agreed to enforce the law as the state Supreme Court has interpreted it, to mean MARRIAGE for same-sex couples.
So yes, be disheartened for California. But recognize that there are places where the light’s still showing, and that sooner or later… dawn will come for you. Until then, I pray that Spirit keep your marriage… to whomever you choose… alive in your hearts, if not yet in the law of the land.