The state enacted a civil union law in 2005 that provides same-sex couples with the same rights and responsibilities under state law as marriage. Connecticut became the second state in the United States, following Vermont, to adopt civil unions, and the first to do so without judicial intervention. The bill was passed by the House on April 13 and by the Senate on April 20. Governor Jodi Rell signed the bill into law later the same day, and it went into effect on October 1, 2005.
The decision to provide for civil unions and not same-sex marriage was challenged in state court. On October 10, 2008, the Supreme Court of Connecticut, in Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health, ruled that failing to give same-sex couples the full rights, responsibilities and name of marriage violated the equal protection clause of the state constitution, and ordered same-sex marriage legalized.
On April 22, 2009, Connecticut legislators, both in the House and in the Senate, agreed to replace all statutory references to marriage with gender-neutral language. Governor Jodi Rell, signed the law on April 23. On October 1, 2010, civil unions ceased to be performed, and existing civil unions were automatically converted into marriages.
So how many same sex-marriages does Bristol have? Here are the current numbers.
- 2008 had 9 filed
- 2009 had 35 filed
- 2010 had 20 filed
- 2011 had 12 filed
- 2012 had 8 filed
- 2013 had 9 filed
Currently Bristol has 47 Civil Unions with only 3 converted to marriage.
Laura Minor, Justice of the Peace said “becoming A Justice of the Peace was one of the best things that has happened to me in the last decade.” Initially she agreed to it so she could swear in her husband onto the Bristol City Council. Since then she has continued to be a JP because she loves performing weddings.
Minor has spoken and led workshops on performing Same-Sex ceremonies and also on interfaith and multicultural ceremonies.
A July 2012 Public Policy Polling survey found that 55% of Connecticut voters thought that same-sex marriage should be legal, while 33% thought it should be illegal and 12% were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 88% of respondents supported legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 51% supporting same-sex marriage, 37% supporting civil unions, 11% opposing all legal recognition and 1% not sure.
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