[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's states brief, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal [official website] announced today that his state will recognize the civil unions and domestic partnerships of other states, although not same-sex marriages. In a legal opinion [text], Blumenthal stated, "Civil unions performed in other states are entitled to full faith and credit in Connecticut and cannot be repeated here." The state will not recognize same-sex marriage because state law defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Legislation allowing for civil unions in Connecticut [JURIST report] itself takes effect October 1. Gay rights activists said the ruling highlights that civil unions, currently available only in Vermont and Connecticut, need to be replaced with full marriage rights. Mary Bonauto, a lawyer for Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) [advocacy website] said that Massachusetts couples who work in neigboring Connecticut would need to get civil unions in order to get the same legal protections afforded to heterosexual couples. Bonauto also pointed out that a Massachusetts resident could be barred from hospital visiting rights if their same-sex partner had an accident in Connecticut, adding that couples might find it degrading to have to pretend that they are not married. AP has more.
In other state legal news …
- A Wisconsin court of appeals ruled [text] Tuesday that a man sent to prison on drug charges must be allowed to withdrawal his guilty plea because police lacked "reasonable suspicion" to search him as a suspect in a murder. Police stopped the man because he matched the description of the shooter as a black male wearing a black thigh-length jacket, black stocking cap and dark pants. The appeals court found that description, which did not include height, facial hair or age, too vague and likely "to encompass much of the area's population." The ruling reversed a lower court decision. AP has more.
- The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled [PDF text] that New Haven's promotion policies for civil service jobs permit too much discretion as to who gets promoted. The suit, originally brought by 5 police officers, claimed New Haven [official website] violated its charter by rounding up test scores, which increased the number of candidates for a promotion, and by using the rule of three which permitted the police chief to skip entire score groups. The court found that the combination of rounding test scores and creating score groups "circumvents the letter and undermines the spirit of the charter's [text] civil service provisions by allowing consideration of large groups of candidates for a single vacancy." City attorneys argued that discretion is essential to pick the best candidates and that the procedures are common practice. The New Haven Register has local coverage.