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Connecticut Leaders Applaud U.S. Supreme Court's Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Jun 26, 2015

"We took what was a one state anomaly in Massachusetts and turned it into a pattern."
Anne Stanback
Anne Stanback speaking at the Hartford Pride rally Friday.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Friday's Supreme Court decision affirming a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage has been met with praise in Connecticut.

When State Sen. Beth Bye married her wife Tracey Wilson in 2008, they were the first gay couple to be wed in Connecticut. Bye said something changed on her wedding day.

"I'll never forget when Jonathan Harris, who married us, said, 'By the power invested in me, by the state of Connecticut, I now pronounce you married for life.' You realize how important laws are and what they mean," Bye said. 

The 5-4 decision from the Supreme Court says states can't keep same-sex couples from marrying. Since Connecticut has allowed gay marriage for a while, the decision won't change anything legally for Bye, but she said what resonated with her was how complete the Supreme Court's ruling was.

"Which was simply saying, 'Look: marriage is marriage.' Between two loving committed people. And I think what that means to families like mine, those people who have always had access to marriage will never understand," Bye said.

Veteran gay rights activist Anne Stanback said Connecticut played "a very important role" in Friday's Supreme Court decision. 

State Sen. Beth Bye at the Hartford Pride Rally on Friday.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Stanback, the founder and former executive director of Love Makes A Family, which led the effort to bring gay marriage to Connecticut, said the state was "important in keeping the momentum going" at a time the movement had suffered some political losses.

"We took what was a one state anomaly in Massachusetts and turned it into a pattern," Stanback said. 

Stanback predicts no political backlash from Friday's ruling by the Supreme Court. "Certainly opponents will scream, but people will accept this and move on," Stanback said. "I absolutely believed we would win marriage here in Connecticut, and eventually win around the country. I don't think I thought it would be quite as soon."

State Comptroller Kevin Lembo at the Hartford Pride Rally on Friday.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut's highest-ranking gay elected official, state Comptroller Kevin Lembo, said Friday's decision is a "personal relief."

Lembo and his spouse, Charles Frey, have three sons. Lembo said that in states where gay marriage had been illegal, spouses were excluded from legal decisions in emergencies and "you're a legal stranger to your spouse."

This report contains information from The Associated Press.