Couples Wed in Connecticut

November 12, 2008
Connecticut married its first same-sex couples today after a final ruling on the case of Kerrigan et al v. Commissioner of Public Health et al. Couples in Connecticut were cheerful as they marched to New Haven City Hall today to get marriage licenses. The first license issued in New Haven went to plaintiffs Robin and Barbara Levine-Ritterman, who have been together since 1989. A crowd of about 100 people outside city hall applauded as Barbara Levine-Ritterman proudly held up the license. "It's thrilling today. We are all in one line for one form. Love is love, and the state recognizes it," she said to The Associated Press. The Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), the Boston-based legal group who litigated on behalf of Connecticut's committed gay couples, says civil unions are still valid and those in civil unions may marry the person with whom they have the union. According to the state public health department, 2,032 civil union licenses were issued in Connecticut between Oct. 2005 and July 2008. "Today, Connecticut sends a message of hope and promise to lesbian and gay people throughout the country who want to be treated as equal citizens by their government," said Ben Klein, a lawyer with Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, a Boston group that litigated the Connecticut case who was quoted in The New York Times. "It is living proof that marriage equality is moving forward in this country." Media outlets in Connecticut have been covering the first group of marriages, talking about both the legal issues as well as the relaxed response from residents throughout the state.