The Catholic Bishops of Connecticut and the Connecticut Catholic Conference are extremely disappointed in this close 4-3 decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court which imposes the recognition of same-sex marriage upon the people of Connecticut. This decision is in direct conflict with the position of our state legislature and courts of other states and is a terribly regrettable exercise in judicial activism.
Four people have not just extended a supposed civil right to a particular class of individuals, but have chosen to redefine the institution of marriage. The Connecticut Supreme Court has taken upon itself to make a determination that other courts throughout our nation have felt should be made through the political process.
Courts in other states, with the exception of Massachusetts and California, have ruled that marriage is a special institution in our society, not a civil right, and chose not to redefine it. Those courts felt that altering this historical and special institution was a legislative matter, and should be left to elected officials and the people they represent.
It appears our State Supreme Court has forgotten that courts should interpret laws and legislatures should make laws. In its decision today, the Connecticut Supreme Court stated again their philosophy that “as we engage over time in the interpretation of our State Constitution, we must consider the changing needs and expectations of the citizens of our State.” Determining the “contemporary” views of the public is the responsibility of the legislature, not the judiciary.
In his dissent, Justice Peter Zarella makes the important and obvious point that “the majority fails, during the entire course of ”¦. (this) ”¦ opinion, even to identify, much less to discuss, the actual purpose of the marriage laws, even though this is the first, critical step in any equal protection analysis.” The majority utterly failed to consider the relationship between the laws of marriage and family. As Justice Zarella maintains, “The ancient definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman has its basis in biology, not bigotry.”
The Supreme Court of Connecticut has chosen to ignore the wisdom of our elected officials, the will of the people, and historical social and religious traditions spanning thousands of years by imposing a social experiment upon the people of our state.
In 2005, the Connecticut General Assembly, while enacting civil union legislation to expand certain rights to same-sex couples, recognized the social importance and uniqueness of traditional marriage through their action of specifically defining marriage in statute as a relationship between one man and one woman. Our elected officials recognized that the people of Connecticut did not want the institution of marriage redefined in our state. This position is also reflected in federal law, which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.
This decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court also raises a very real concern about the infringement on religious liberty and freedom of speech with the judicial imposition of same-sex marriage. The real battle in this court case was not about rights, since civil unions provide a vast number of legal rights to same-sex couples, but about conferring and enforcing social acceptance of a particular lifestyle; a lifestyle many people of faith and advocates of the natural law refuse to accept.
This ruling creates an inevitable conflict between people of faith, the natural law and the authority of the State.
Therefore, we will be calling on the Catholic people of our state to vote “Yes” for a Constitutional Convention and the right of referendum on Election Day.