In One Eye

Thursday, April 14, 2005
 
Although I'm somewhat ambivalent about its language, I think the bill that Connecticut's House of Representatives passed yesterday is a real triumph for the notion of equality for all.
The state House of Representatives approved civil unions for same-sex couples Wednesday night, but not before amending the bill to define marriage as exclusively for one man and one woman.

Though gay rights activists were disappointed by passage of the amendment, the House action signals the end of their long quest for legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

The Senate, which passed the measure 27-9 last week, is expected to approve it again as amended, and the marriage language turned Gov. M. Jodi Rell into an unequivocal supporter of the landmark legislation ...

The key provision of the legislation states: "Parties to a civil union shall have all the same benefits, protections and responsibilities under law, whether derived from the general statutes, administrative regulations or court rules, policy, common law or any other source of civil law, as are granted to spouses in a marriage."

The bill changes hundreds of state laws dealing with matters ranging from taxation and inheritance to divorce and the rights of spouses to direct medical treatment by adding reference to civil unions to the laws. One exception is the section of statute dealing specifically with qualifications for marriage, issuance of marriage licenses and the performance of marriages. Rather than adding civil unions to those laws, the bill sets up a parallel and similar system.
In addition to the—for lack of a better word—spiritual aspects of the bill, the financial aspects have been long overdue.

Finally, same sex duos will be able to file their taxes as couples and use one another's health care coverage.

The bill is a victory not only for those affected, but also for the state as it sends the message emphatically, as Governor Rell averred yesterday, "that discrimination in any form is unacceptable in Connecticut."

Qui transtulit sustinet.