Skip Header to Content


GLAD Logo GLAD Logo Skip Primary Navigation to Content

Marriage & Relationships | Marriage | Connecticut

Connecticut Marriage Q&A

Can same-sex couples marry in Connecticut?

Yes. On October 10, 2008, Connecticut’s Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to full marriage equality under the Connecticut Constitution. This decision was the result of a lawsuit, Kerrigan & Mock v. Connecticut Dept. of Public Health (289 Conn. 135 (2008)), which GLAD filed on August 25, 2004 in New Haven Superior Court on behalf of eight gay and lesbian Connecticut couples who were denied marriage licenses.

Seven years later, in Obergefell v. Hodges (135 S.Ct. 2584 (2015)), the U.S. Supreme Court made marriage equality a reality nationwide when it held that the U.S. Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry. GLAD’s own Mary Bonauto represented the plaintiffs during oral arguments. Post-Obergefell, all 50 states are required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and all states must respect the marriages of same-sex couples performed in other jurisdictions.

Will Connecticut respect my marriage? Will other states?

Yes. Connecticut will respect the legal marriages of same-sex couples regardless of where the marriage was performed, just as all states will now respect the marriage of a same-sex couple married in Connecticut.

Will the federal government respect my marriage?

Yes. Thanks to the recent demise of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in Windsor v. United States (133. S.Ct. 2675 (2013)), the federal government will recognize and respect the legal marriages of same-sex couples.

DOMA, a federal statute which defined marriage exclusively as the union between one man and one woman, once prevented same-sex spouses from accessing the 1000+ federal laws pertaining to marriage, including taxes, Social Security (including SSDI and SSI), immigration, bankruptcy, FMLA, federal student financial aid, Medicaid, Medicare, veteran’s benefits, and TANF. Happily, in 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down DOMA as unconstitutional. GLAD filed the first comprehensive challenge to DOMA in 2009, Gill v. OPM (699 F.Supp.2d 374 (2010)), and the legal framework developed in that case was used in many subsequent cases, Windsor included. GLAD was also responsible for coordinating the Windsor amici briefs.

Unfortunately, one issue that has yet to be definitively resolved by Windsor and Obergefell concerns spousal benefits and self-insured health plans. While Connecticut state law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, self-insured health plans are governed by federal law. Title VII, the federal anti-discrimination statute, only prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin—sexual orientation is not explicitly included. As a result, some self-insured employers claim they can legally deny benefits to same-sex spouses.

Luckily, this issue is far from settled. Recently, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) took the position that Title VII’s prohibition against ‘sex discrimination’ encompasses discrimination based on sexual orientation (see Baldwin v. Foxx, Agency No. 2012-24738-FAA-3 (July 15, 2015)).

If your employer is discriminating against you in spousal healthcare benefits on the basis of sexual orientation, contact GLAD Answers.

What happens if we need to end our marriage?

After Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex spouses everywhere should be able to dissolve their marriages on the same terms as different-sex spouses. Connecticut applies its divorce statutes to same-sex couples (see e.g., Barse v. Pasternak, 2015 Conn. Super. LEXIS 142 at *24 (2015) (referring to lesbian couple’s divorce)).

However, spouses should note that when Connecticut courts divide marital property (Conn. Gen. Stat. 46b-81(c)) and award alimony (Conn. Gen. Stat. 46b-82(a)), one of the factors a judge considers is length of marriage. The Connecticut Supreme Court has specifically held that a judge cannot take a period of premarital cohabitation into account (Loughlin v. Loughlin, 280 Conn. 632, 645 (2006) (“consideration of a period of cohabitation that precedes a marriage as part of the statutory factor of “length of the marriage” in a dissolution action is improper”)). Unfortunately for spouses whose partnership pre-dates marriage equality, the length of the marriage may not accurately reflect the true length of the relationship, resulting in an unbalanced division of assets.

If you are going through divorce proceedings in Connecticut and believe your division of assets may be unfairly affected by length of marriage, contact Glad Answers.

Can Connecticut same-sex couples get married anywhere else?

Yes. Thanks to Obergefell v. Hodges, all states are required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.