[JURIST] A Connecticut Superior Court [official website] judge ruled [PDF text] Wednesday that civil unions do not harm same-sex couples, saying that they "share the same benefits, protections and responsibilities" as married couples. Judge Patty Jenkins Pittman further wrote that because civil unions enjoy the same benefits and protections as traditional marriages, same-sex couples receive equal protection and due process of law under the Connecticut Constitution [text].
Last year, the state approved civil unions for same-sex couples [JURIST report], giving them the same legal rights as heterosexual married couples, but plaintiffs argued that the marriage law still caused them to be treated as a separate class of citizens. Eight same-sex couples, assisted by the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) [advocacy website] challenged the law [GLAD materials], claiming that the state's marriage law is unconstitutional because it treats heterosexual couples differently than same-sex couples by defining marriage as existing only between a man and a woman. Connecticut Assistant Attorney General Jane Rosenberg defended the marriage law in March [JURIST report], saying homosexuals do not have a fundamental right to marry. GLAD plans to appeal [press release] Wednesday's decision. AP has more. The Hartford Courant has local coverage.