MARRIAGE DIGEST: Conn. high court to hear 'gay marriage' case minus justice; …
HARTFORD, Conn. (BP)--When the Connecticut Supreme Court hears a much-anticipated "gay marriage" case May 14, its new chief justice, Chase T. Rogers, won't be presiding.
The 50-year-old Rogers, who took her oath in April, has chosen to recuse herself from the case because attorneys for her husband's law firm, Robinson & Cole, wrote a friend-of-the-court legal brief on behalf of the homosexual activist group Lambda Legal supporting "gay marriage" legalization, the Hartford Courant newspaper reported.
Instead, former chief justice William J. Sullivan will sit in for Rogers, ensuring a full seven-member panel. It is not known how Rogers' absence will impact the case. Both Rogers and Sullivan were nominated for the high court by Republican governors -- Rogers by current Gov. M. Jodi Rell, Sullivan by former Gov. John Rowland.
The Courant described Sullivan as a "devout Catholic" who wrote a rather pro-life concurring opinion in a 2003 fetal assault case.
"I write separately only to emphasize that the mere fact that we have determined that a fetus, under the circumstances of this case, is a 'member' of a woman's body ... does not suggest that either the majority or I have concluded that a fetus may not have its own independent existence," Sullivan wrote, according to the Courant. "In other words, the fetus may both be part of its mother as well as its own individual being."
The lawsuit seeking "gay marriage" legalization was filed by New England-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders in 2004 on behalf of several homosexual couples. GLAD is the same legal group that won the landmark "gay marriage" decision in Massachusetts in 2003.
Last year a lower court judge in Connecticut upheld the current law and refused to legalize "gay marriage." Her decision was appealed.
Connecticut isn't the only state defending its marriage laws in court. Maryland's Supreme Court is expected to issue a "gay marriage" decision any day. California's Supreme Court will hear such a case in the coming months.
N.Y. LEGISLATORS REJECTING 'GAY MARRIAGE' -- A "gay marriage" bill introduced in the legislature by New York Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer is proving quite unpopular in the Republican-controlled state Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said May 1 the bill is "a priority of the governor, and not a priority in the Senate," The New York Times reported. Asked it he would support changing current marriage law, Bruno replied, "No, I would not."
Republican state Sen. James Seward agreed.
"I consider marriage to be between one man and one woman," Seward said, according to The Daily Star in Oneonta, N.Y. "I would oppose the governor's proposal."
The newspaper quoted two other Republican senators who also are opposed to the bill, which has a better chance in the Democrat-controlled House, although Speaker Sheldon Silver has yet to take a position on it.
Meanwhile, an organization of New York pro-family groups calling itself the Coalition to Save Marriage in New York issued a position statement April 30 urging legislators to kill the bill.
"The institution of marriage provides the basic family unit within which children are born and nurtured," the statement read. "Marriage is an essential building block of our society, not an archaic, outmoded tradition to be lightly redefined or cast aside. The legalization of same-sex 'marriage' or civil unions would be detrimental to New York’s families, and would open the door to a host of negative consequences for our legal system and for future generations."
The coalition included the American Family Association of New York, Concerned Women for America of New York and the New York Christian Coalition. It also included Rt. Rev. William H. Love, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany. Love's denomination has taken an unorthodox position on the issue of homosexuality.
HOWARD DEAN OPPOSES DOMA -- Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean reiterated his opposition in April to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, WCAX-TV in Burlington, Vt., reported.
"You know I don't think marriage or civil unions are a national issue," he was quoted as saying. "I think the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. Clearly the states have the right to make these kinds of decisions about benefits and legal relationships and that's always been the way it is. I think there should be less federal regulation, not more."
It is unclear how Dean's comments about DOMA mesh with his comments about states rights. Signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, DOMA gives states the option of not recognizing another state's "gay marriages." If DOMA is overturned in federal court, then the other 49 states presumably could be forced to recognize "gay marriages" from Massachusetts.