Connecticut lawmakers consider civil union report

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com January 08 2003 12:00 AM ET

A Connecticut legislative committee on Monday forwarded to the full general assembly its review of the same-sex marriage issue but did not make any specific recommendations. Rep. Michael Lawlor, judiciary committee cochairman, said the report contained all studies and testimony--from supporters and opponents--compiled from three public hearings held in November and December.

"We weren't voting for or against any particular policy change," said Lawlor (D-East Haven).

Supporters of same-sex marriage accepted compromise legislation last year that allows a person in Connecticut to legally designate another person to make medical decisions and end-of-life choices, such as organ donation and life support. It also allows for private visits in nursing homes and requires employers to allow emergency phone calls from the legally designated person. As part of the compromise, lawmakers were mandated to further study the issue this year.

Lawlor, who supports same-sex marriage, said research shows that giving gay couples marriage rights wouldn't cost the state any money and in fact would make money for the state because more couples would be paying a marriage penalty on taxes.

"From my view, if you really read all the evidence, you really have a hard time finding an argument against same-sex marriage," Lawlor said. "The main argument against it is a religious argument. In terms of the public policy aspect, to me, it's a no-brainer."

The committee voted 18-7 to forward the report. Rep. Ann Dandrow (R-Southington) said she voted against the move because there was confusion over whether forwarding the lengthy report was even necessary and because it lacked focus. "I thought it was rather unsure," said Dandrow. "I like to support definite language in front of me. There were so many pros and cons--how can you just accept a report? I would rather have had the [committee] adopt one of the recommendations and not adopt others."