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Friday, October 10, 2008

4-3 Supreme Court Judges Legalize Gay Marriage in Connecticut

Today in a 4-3 decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. "The Connecticut court’s ruling marks the first time a state that had willingly offered an alternative to marriage was instructed by a court that civil unions aren’t enough to protect the rights of same-sex couples" (Associated Press).

The Catholic Church has responded by urging Catholics to vote "yes" on the November 4th ballot initiative of whether or not to hold a constitutional convention. "Unlike many other states, Connecticut does not have a public referendum process. This means there is no ordinary way for citizens to have their voices heard on critical constitutional matters. The only opportunity Connecticut residents have [to make] a real impact on the state Constitution is a vote every twenty years on whether to hold a Constitutional Convention. This is a rare and unique opportunity to allow voters to contribute to the constitutional process and to advance their values. Because the opportunity is so rare, we must be sure to take full advantage of it" (ctfamily.org).

Six Catholic bishops — including the Archdiocese of Hartford, the dioceses of Bridgeport and Norwich, and the Ukrainian Catholic Diocese of Stamford - issued a statement following the Supreme Court decision, saying that they were "extremely disappointed."

"The Supreme Court of Connecticut has chosen to ignore the wisdom of our elected officials, the will of the people, and historical social and religious traditions spanning thousands of years by imposing a social experiment upon the people of our state. The decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court also raises a very real concern about the infringement on religious liberty and freedom of speech with the judicial imposition of same-sex marriage."

One of the three dissenting judges, Justice Peter T. Zarella,
"argued that there is no fundamental right to same-sex marriage. He accused the majority decision of failing to discuss the purpose of marriage laws, which he said is 'to privilege and regulate procreative conduct.'

'The ancient definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman has its basis in biology, not bigotry,' Justice Zarella continued. 'If the state no longer has an interest in the regulation of procreation, then that is a decision for the legislature or the people of the state and not this court'" (Catholic News Agency).

The state of Iowa is also scheduled to hear arguments on same-sex marriage this week.

In response to this recent Connecticut Supreme Court ruling, "the Protect Marriage Coalition and its volunteers are stepping up efforts and continuing their unprecedented grassroots campaign across the state of California. This weekend hundreds of thousands of lawn signs will appear on lawns in every community. Church services in some African American ministries will cut their meetings short to allow their members to get out into neighborhoods and post signs. The Protect Marriage campaign is sending its message out on radio and television stations throughout the state and informing voters about the profound consequences Californians will face if traditional marriage laws are not restored" (MarketWatch).

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