Rep. Michael LawlorIt’s far from the most important issue the legislature will deal with this year, however, same-sex marriage is in fact an important issue, state Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, said Wednesday. No legislation promoting same-sex marriage was introduced last year because of the short 12-week legislative session and because civil unions had just taken effect. Legislators who voted for civil unions need to see that their votes would not cost them at the polls, Betty Gallo said last year. Senator Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, whose opponent in the last election made same-sex marriage the biggest issue in his campaign was defeated by McDonald, who received 62 percent of the vote.
Opponents of same-sex marriage said Wednesday that they want a non-binding public referendum on the issue. McDonald and Lawlor said they would oppose a referendum because there’s no process for which to hold a non-binding referendum in the state. “It’s not like a town budget,” McDonald said. If things were decided by public referendum, “why do we elect officials?“The referendum is when voters go to the polls to elect the person that best represents their views, he said. McDonald’s viewed his re-election as a public referenda on the same-sex marriage issue. Senate Minority Leader Louis DeLuca, R-Woodbury, said, “I even dare them if they have a non-binding referendum and it comes out 70 percent in favor of marriage, I’ll even vote for it with them.”“You don’t see politician’s vocally opposing this issue because they know the shape of things to come,” Lawlor said. “This law will change with the times and our goal is to make it happen this year.“But Gov. M. Jodi Rell said last week she would veto any same-sex marriage legislation that came across her desk. She said the civil unions bill that passed two years ago “covered the concerns that have been raised.“Proponents of same-sex marriage disagree with Rell. McDonald and Lawlor said they will receive bipartisan support in their efforts and plan to win over the governor in the process.