After three hours of impassioned debate the Connecticut General Assembly Judiciary Committee voted 27-15 to approve a bill that would make gay marriage legal in that state. It will now head to the House of Representatives.
Connecticut already has legalized civil unions for same-sex couples, but after some lawmakers noted that the public’s opinion of gay marriage is in a swift transition, and another lawmaker spoke emotionally of her personal experience under the civil union law, the committee advanced the bill, despite the fact that Governor Jodi Rell has promised to veto it should it come before her.
Rep. Beth Bye (D-West Hartford) made an key impression on the Assembly, notes the New Haven Register:
“As tears rolled down her cheeks, Bye told members of the committee how her deeply religious father has come to accept and support her gay lifestyle and her partner. ‘My father, a devout Catholic, … has moved on this issue because he loves his daughter. He thinks of me as married,’ said Bye. ‘The broader world does not see me as married.’ Her voice shaking, Bye explained how, on her partner’s pension documents, she has been listed as ‘Other’ because she didn’t fit into any of the traditional legal categories. ‘I don’t want to be ‘Other,’’ insisted Bye, ‘I want to be married.'”
Rep. Michael P. Lawlor (D-East ), and state Sen. Andrew McDonald (D-Stamford), both openly gay, also spoke in favor of the bill, with Lawlor asking legislators to think of the gay marriage decision made by the South African parliament, who called it a form of apartheid. Said Lawlor: “[think] how history will judge us.”
A case is also currently pending with the Connecticut Supreme Court, filed by eight couples who say that civil unions do not suffice. However, the approval of the gay marriage bill in Connecticut yesterday appears to be the second time (California was the first) that a gay marriage bill has been approved by a legislative committee without a court order.
Judiciary Committee approves gay marriage bill [stamford advocate]
Gay Marriage Bill Approved In Committee [hartford courant]
Moved by disclosure, legislative panel OKs gay marriage bill [new haven register]