On April 6, 2005, the Connecticut Senate approved legislation that legally recognized civil unions between same-sex couples. The legislation, An Act Concerning Marriage Equality (SB 963) [PDF] granted same-sex couples many equivalent rights of married couples, including filing joint state tax returns, qualifying for a partner's health insurance and inheriting a partner's property without paying taxes. On April 14, 2005, the Connecticut House passed an amended version of the bill by a vote of 80-67. The amendment specifically defined marriage as the union of a man and woman. The Senate approved this amended version on April 20, 2005, which made Connecticut the first US state legislature to voluntarily recognize civil unions without judicial pressure. The bill was upheld in July 2006 by the Connecticut Supreme Court. However, the court ruled in October 2008 that the Connecticut Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry. Subsequently, the state legislature passed legislation to comply with the ruling [PDF] and granted same-sex couples the right to marry.
Learn more about Connecticut from the JURIST news archive and read comprehensive coverage of the legal controversy over Same-Sex Marriage in Features.