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MARRIAGE DIGEST: Conn. civil unions law goes into effect; Mass. residency law challenged; petition drive advances in Mass.

HARTFORD, Conn. (BP)–Connecticut began recognizing same-sex civil unions Oct. 1, making it the fourth state to grant homosexual couples the legal benefits of marriage.

Vermont also has civil unions, while California offers something similar but calls them domestic partnerships. Massachusetts remains the only state to recognize “gay marriage.”

Homosexual activists in Connecticut applauded the move but said they would continue working toward the legalization of “gay marriage.” Such a lawsuit is pending in state court.

“This is a historic day. We’re beyond ecstatic,” Randy Sharp, 46, who received a civil union license with his partner, Jeff Blanchette, 44, told the Associated Press.

The civil unions bill passed the House and Senate and was signed into law by Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell in April. It includes language defining marriage as between a man and a woman, although a judge could strike down the definition as unconstitutional. Conservatives are promoting a constitutional marriage amendment — which would trump any court ruling — but it faces an uphill climb in the liberal-leaning state.

Any notion that civil unions would satisfy the major homosexual groups was dashed in recent months when it became clear that only full-fledged “gay marriage” would do.

John de la Roche, a homosexual man in Connecticut, refused to attend a party celebrating the new law.

“I cannot force myself to go and dance at this,” he told AP. “I just think it’s really insulting that we have to sit in the back of the bus.”

Two groups — the American Civil Liberties Union and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders — have filed suit in state court seeking “gay marriage” legalization. GLAD is the same group that successfully sued in Massachusetts for “gay marriage” and in Vermont for civil unions.

Pro-family leaders said the law was nothing to celebrate.

“Oct. 1 is a tragic day, because it’s the first day a law goes into effect that states a legislative belief that children don’t need both a mom and a dad,” said Peter Wolfgang, director of public policy for the Family Institute of Connecticut, according to AP.

MASS. LAW CHALLENGED — Massachusetts’ highest court heard arguments Oct. 6 in a challenge to a 1913 law that has been used to prevent out-of-state homosexual couples from getting “married.” The law states that unless a marriage would be recognized in a couple’s home state, a license cannot be issued. Because no other state recognizes “gay marriage,” the law has limited “gay marriages” to in-state residents.

The lawsuit was brought by eight out-of-state homosexual couples. If the law is overturned, it would become easier for same-sex couples to acquire a license and then return home and sue for its recognition.

The high court — called the Supreme Judicial Court — issued a 4-3 ruling in 2003 legalizing “gay marriage.” It went into effect in May 2004.

PETITION DRIVE ADVANCES — Supporters of a constitutional marriage amendment in Massachusetts said Oct. 2 they had collected 25,000 signatures, The Boston Globe reported. Approximately 66,000 valid signatures are required.

If the goal is reached, the amendment would then require the support of 25 percent of the legislature in two consecutive sessions before going to voters in 2008.

“It’s a good start. There’s no question we’re going to have the numbers,” Larry Cirignano, executive director of CatholicVote.org, told The Globe.

AMENDMENT IN N.H.? — A New Hampshire government commission studying the issue of “gay marriage” voted Oct. 5 to recommend the adoption of a constitutional marriage amendment, AP reported. On a 7-4 vote, the commission recommended that the legislature send such an amendment to the voters.

“[S]even of us believe the people of New Hampshire have a right to vote on this,” state Sen. Jack Barnes, a Republican, told AP.

Nevertheless, the amendment faces an uphill battle even to get on the ballot. It requires a three-fifths vote of the legislature to place it before voters, who would then have to pass it by a two-thirds majority, AP said.

POLYGAMY IN THE NETHERLANDS? — Polygamy isn’t legal in the Netherlands, but a man there has joined into a civil union with two women — marking what conservatives are calling a polygamous marriage in all but name, the Brussels Journal reported Sept. 27. The Netherlands was the first country to legalize “gay marriage.”

“I love both Bianca and Mirjam, so I am marrying them both,” Victor de Bruijn said, according to the publication. “A marriage between three persons is not possible in the Netherlands, but a civil union is.”

The man is 46, the women 35 and 31.
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriagesamesexmarriage.

    About the Author

  • Michael Foust