Christine Stuart photo
Connecticut Clergy for Marriage Equality, a group with nearly 200 members, gathered Thursday to ask lawmakers and the governor to pass a bill that would change the name of civil unions to marriage for same-sex couples.

“We do not believe state marriage statutes ought to perpetuate discrimination against same gender loving people,” Rev. Josh Pawelek (pictured) said.

“When any two people find each other and choose to spend their lives together, the union should not only be recognized, but celebrated,” Rabbi Kim Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal told the story of Hillel, one of the earliest rabbis. She said Hillel was taunted by a man who asked the leader to teach him the Torah while standing on one foot. She said Hillel lifted one foot and said, “‘What is hateful to you, do not to your neighbor’: that is the whole Torah, while the rest is the commentary.”

She said clinging to Hillel’s statement, “we get the directive that treating others as we would want to be treated is the basis for religious traditions. We must evaluate all of our actions in accordance with this command.”

While the bill may pass the legislature, Gov. M. Jodi Rell has said she would veto it, even though approved the legislation that created civil unions. Pawelek said the clergy would request a meeting with her and try to change her mind. He asked Rell to consider “going down in history as the first governor in the United States to say yes to marriage justice for gay and lesbian families.”