Connecticut Bishops Denounce Supreme Court for Bulldozing Democratic Process in Same-sex “Marriage”

Tue Oct 14, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST

By Kathleen Gilbert

HARTFORD, Connecticut, October 14, 2008 ( - The Connecticut bishops on Friday reacted with outrage to the state Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex "marriage." The bishops called upon citizens to vote "yes" for a Constitutional Convention to democratically consider the marriage law and protect natural marriage from the incursions of activist judges. 

The Connecticut Catholic Conference, the public policy office of the bishops from each of the state’s four dioceses, issued a statement the same day as the Supreme Court decision, in which they expressed dismay at the ruling, which they said hijacked the democratic process. 

"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," wrote the bishops.

The Connecticut Supreme Court reversed on Friday a lower court ruling that same-sex civil unions offer the same rights as marriage and that, therefore, homosexual couples’ "rights" are adequately protected in the state.  Justice Richard N. Palmer, speaking for the majority, said that legislators in 2005 did not go far enough when they approved civil unions for same-sex couples.

According to Palmer, the "segregation of heterosexual and homosexual couples into separate institutions constitutes a cognizable harm." (

The bishops, however, strongly criticized the judges’ decision to take the matter into their own hands.  "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," said the bishops.  "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."

The statement quoted Justice Peter Zarella, one of the three judges who dissented, who decried the majority for failing to discuss the actual purpose of marriage laws and allowing instead the notion of bigotry to steer the discussion. "The ancient definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman has its basis in biology, not bigotry," said Zarella.

"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," said the bishops. 

The statement also warned that the decision bodes ill for the First Amendment rights of religious individuals objecting to the normalization of homosexuality:

"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." 

The statement ended with a call to Connecticut voters to exercise their right of referendum and support a Constitutional Convention in the November ballot.

Friday’s decision made Connecticut the third state to recognize homosexual "marriage," after Massachusetts and California.  In all three states, the change was effected, not through the democratic process, but through the ruling of activist judges.

To read the full statement, go to:

See related coverage:

Shock: Connecticut Supreme Court Strikes Down State Ban on Same-sex "Marriage"

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