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November 12, 2008

Marriages Start Today in Connecticut

GLAD Marks Journey's End and New Beginnings as Same-Sex Couples Start Marrying in the Constitution State

More than four years after filing the marriage equality lawsuit, Kerrigan & Mock v. Department of Public Health, Attorney Ben Klein of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders stood in New Haven Superior Court as Judge Jonathan Silbert entered final judgment - a victory - in the case.

And with that, it became official - today, November 12, 2008, same-sex couples started to get marriage licenses and get married in the Constitution State.

“When couples approach the counter of their town clerk today, we will see not just loving, committed couples, but citizens coming before their government as equals,” said Klein, who argued the case before the Connecticut Supreme Court in May 2007.

The Court issued its decision on October 10, 2008.  GLAD also won the marriage equality case Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, which made Massachusetts the first state where same-sex couples could marry.

In the courtroom also were the eight plaintiff couples who started the journey in August 2004 - Beth Kerrigan and Jody Mock, Suzanne and Geraldine Artis with their three sons, Jeffrey Busch and Stephen Davis, Barbara and Robin Levine-Ritterman, John Anderson and Garrett Stack, Janet Peck and Carol Conklin, J.E. Martin and Denise Howard, and Damaris Navarro and Gloria Searson.  Many became teary-eyed as the judgment was entered.

After the court proceedings, three of the couples - the Levine-Rittermans, Ms. Searson and Ms. Navarro, and Ms. Kerrigan and Ms. Mock - proceeded to their town halls to apply for marriage licenses.  All eight couples are making plans to get married within the next year.

The attorneys who worked on the case for four-plus years include GLAD’s Ben Klein, Mary Bonauto, Karen Loewy, and Jennfier Levi; Ken Bartschi and Karen Dowd of Horton, Shields and Knox; Maureen Murphy of Murphy, Murphy, Ferrara and Nugent, LLC; and the ACLU of Connecticut.

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, now celebrating its 30th anniversary year, is New England’s leading legal group fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity and expression.

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Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders is New England's leading legal organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity and expression.