Connecticut top court may review civil unions

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com August 29 2002 12:00 AM ET

A retired Greenwich, Conn., businessman has asked the state supreme court to dissolve a civil union he and his partner obtained two years ago in Vermont. Glen Rosengarten, 54, filed a petition with the state supreme court earlier this month after state superior and appellate court judges ruled that they had no jurisdiction over civil union matters because Connecticut does not recognize same-sex unions.

Rosengarten and his former partner, Peter Downes of New York City, entered into a civil union in Vermont on New Year's Eve 2000. But their 15-year relationship ended shortly afterward. Vermont would not dissolve the civil union because state law requires that at least one party be a legal resident of the state before family courts can rule on a dissolution. The law allows anyone to obtain a civil union license, which grants legal rights similar to those of marriage.

"I'm looking for closure from both a legal and a moral point of view so I can move on with my life," Rosengarten told the Greenwich Time. "I feel since I'm entered into a civil union in Vermont, it prohibits my freedoms from moving on with anybody I may meet and want to have a further relationship with."

Rosengarten's lawyers, Gary Cohen of Greenwich and Kenneth Bartschi of Hartford, say Connecticut's lower courts do have jurisdiction to decide the matter. They also said that the lack of a Connecticut law recognizing same-sex unions should not preclude the state from dissolving unions obtained in other states.