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Attorneys at Lewis, Lewis, and Ferraro LLC
Attentive. Compassionate. Decisive.

Same Sex Marriage And Connecticut State Law

Same-sex marriage is recognized in Connecticut, as well as same-sex divorce.

The concept of marriage has evolved in recent years, expanding to include same-sex couples. Connecticut is one of the states that recognize marriage for same-sex couples, with state law defining marriage as the legal union of two persons, as opposed to the union of a husband and wife. The law specifically states that “Wherever in the general statues or the public acts the term ‘husband’, ‘wife’, ‘groom’, ‘bride’, ‘widower’, or ‘widow’ is used, such term shall be deemed to include one party to a marriage between two persons of the same sex.” In fact, the state even has a law that serves to guarantee the equal protection under the Constitution of the state for same-sex couples.

More on the recognition of same-sex marriage in Connecticut: Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health

Connecticut extended these rights in 2008 with the case Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health. This case involved eight same-sex couples that claimed the state’s statutory prohibition against same-sex marriage violated their rights to substantive due process and equal protection under the state’s constitution. Initially, the lower court found in favor of the state. One of the state’s main arguments was that Connecticut recognized civil unions for same-sex couples, which, it contended, offered the same legal rights as marriage. As a result, the state claimed that the plaintiffs had not established a “harm” that needed to be addressed by the court.

Ultimately, it was held that the status and significance of a marriage was sufficient to establish harm. This is particularly true since a failure to do so would result in a separation of classes, further perpetuating the discrimination faced by gay men and lesbians.

Same-sex divorce in Connecticut: the basics

As with any couple, marriages do not always end in happily ever after. Same-sex couples navigating divorce are on fairly new territory since these marriages were not even recognized until recently. As a result, it can be helpful to have a basic understanding of the law.

A marriage is dissolved in Connecticut in one of two ways: at the death of a partner or with a decree of annulment or dissolution by a court. Those who reside in Connecticut can also divorce in Connecticut, as long as they meet the residency requirements. The state requires at least one of the parties to reside in the state for at least twelve months, or one of the parties domiciled in the state at the time of the marriage and returns to the state with the intention of establishing a permanent residence.

Dissolution of a marriage is granted in both fault and no-fault situations. Some examples of fault recognized by the court include adultery, habitual intemperance and intolerable cruelty. No-fault generally involves a marriage that has broken down irretrievably or when the parties have lived apart continuously for 18 months or more.

Same-sex marriage and divorce in Connecticut: an attorney can help

These are just a few of the issues that may need to be addressed when moving forward with dissolution of marriage in Connecticut. Additional issues regarding property division, child custody and support may also arise. As a result, it is wise to seek the counsel of an experienced family law attorney to better ensure a more favorable outcome.

Keywords: same-sex marriage
same-sex divorce
family law