The Freedom to Marry in Connecticut

Winning Marriage: November 12, 2008

Same-sex couples began marrying in Connecticut on November 12, 2008 after the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in favor of the freedom to marry on October 10, 2008.

History and the Path to Victory:

  • August 25, 2004: Same-sex couples and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders file a legal case in state court seeking the freedom to marry in Connecticut, Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health.
  • April 21, 2005: Connecticut passes a state statute that allows same-sex couples to enter into civil union, but, for the first time in the state, restricts marriage to different-sex couples. The law takes effect October 1.
  • July 12, 2006: Connecticut Superior Court Judge Patty Jenkins Pittman rules against the freedom to marry in the Kerrigan case, arguing that civil union affords same-sex couples the same legal rights under the law.
  • January 31, 2007: Connecticut passes a bill through its state judiciary committee to grant the freedom to marry to same-sex couples.
  • October 10, 2008: The Connecticut Supreme Court rules in favor of the freedom to marry, striking down the state’s marriage ban. The ruling takes effect on November 12, and same-sex couples begin to marry.
  • April 23, 2009: Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell signs into law a state statute previously approved by the Connecticut Legislature to replace all statutory references to marriage with gender-neutral language, essentially ratifying the Connecticut Supreme Court’s ruling. All civil unions in the state are converted to marriages.
  • October 2011: Polling in Connecticut tracks majority support for the freedom to marry, reflecting the power of the national discussion of why marriage matters.
  • June 26, 2015: The United States Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage for same-sex couples, bringing the freedom to marry nationwide once and for all. 

Groups That Actively Worked on Marriage

  • Love Makes a Family was a statewide nonprofit advocacy organization working for equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in Connecticut. Upon completing its mission, it is now closed, but it still offers resources on its website.
  • Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders is New England's leading legal rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status and gender identity and expression which brought the marriage equality case before the Connecticut Supreme Court, Kerrigan v. Connecticut Department of Public Health.
  • Freedom to Marry was the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.

Number of Same-sex couples

According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 7,852 same-sex couples are living in Connecticut, representing 5.7 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.