Connecticut: A Step forward, a Step Back
Patrick A. Forcelli
I'm proud to be from the state of Connecticutnow officially the second state to allow civil unionsand the first to do so without a court order (take that, Vermont!). The bill will take effect on October 1st. While it is a great step forward in the fight for equality, it is far from perfect; an amendment was attached to the bill, which states that marriage shall be between one man and one woman. The bill goes on to state that civil unions can be performed by anyone who can currently perform a marriage.
Now, some might ask: "Well, what's the difference? . . . Civil unions for homosexuals and marriage for heterosexuals . . ." There are several fundamental flaws with this line of thought. First, "separate but equal" has not, is not, will not ever be equal. It's clear that under the 14th amendment, "no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws"; it is also clear that this "separate and unequal" line of thought violates this protection. The decision of the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education takes the law a step further; the creation of second-class citizens, which denotes inferiority, is cited in the majority opinion as a key component of the problem with the notion of "separate but equal." Even when one abandons more abstract legal arguments, the fact exists that homosexual couples in Connecticut will not be granted the tax benefits that their heterosexual counterparts are entitled toa clear inequity. Marriages are recognized across states; civil unions from Vermont won't be recognized in Connecticut. Marriages from Massachusetts won't be recognized in Connecticut. I am confident that when Kerrigan vs. Department of Public Health is heard by the Connecticut Supreme Court, gay marriage will be approved. I only wish that it didn't have to go to the courts. I am damned tired of hearing about "activist judges" who "radically interpret" the meaning of equal protection under the law as "equal protection under the law." I am a proud New Englander, and I am encouraged that the region is leading the nation on these complicated issues; but we still have a lot of work to do. Let's do it the right way: Equal Rights for Everyone. Now!
Front Page (April 29, 2005)
• Current Issue •