Senator Kissel Opposes Civil Union Legislation

March 2, 2005

State Senator John A. Kissel (R-Enfield) today reaffirmed his stance in opposition to legislation that would legalize civil unions in Connecticut. Senator Kissel warns that the bill, which passed the Judiciary Committee last week, would be another step towards the complete legalization of same-sex marriage in Connecticut. Furthermore, he explains, the legislation would act as a vehicle for a related amendment that would give proponents of same sex marriage the predicate they need to challenge the national Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

“This legislation would make Connecticut the first state in the country to adopt civil union legislation without any court intervention, which is a very serious step,” according to Senator Kissel. “In my view, other than the name itself, there is little, if any, difference between civil unions and same-sex marriage. That being said, if we were to legalize civil unions, I believe enough of a precedent would exist for same-sex couples to challenge Connecticut courts into recognizing their civil unions as marriages. The vast majority of my constituents who have contacted me regarding this oppose this.”

Additional legislation also has been drafted that would require Connecticut to recognize any marriage or civil union entered into outside of the state. There is a chance that similar language will be called as an amendment to the current Civil Union legislation when that bill reaches the Floor of the Senate.

“If this amendment along with the underlying bill were to pass, again, the State of Connecticut would be setting an enormous legal precedent by becoming the first state in the nation to recognize same-sex civil unions and same-sex marriages from other states,” explained Senator Kissel. “Collectively, these new laws could form a predicate for same-sex couples to go to federal court and challenge the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).”

Senator Kissel, the Ranking Member on the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, was one of 13 Republican legislators to oppose the civil union bill at the committee meeting last week. He has opposed similar legislation in the past, consistently citing that such moves are merely small steps towards full-fledged legalization of same-sex marriage in the state.