The Judiciary Committee Co-Chairmen joined three University of Connecticut Law professors and a same-sex marriage advocate for a panel discussion on marriage equality Wednesday.
The panelists seemed to conclude the easiest route to equality is public policy rather than the courts and the proponents of marriage equality believe confusion is their best ally.
Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, said when opponents of gay marriage came up to argue against civil unions two years ago they said civil unions are just marriage by another name.
This year as the gay marriage proponents try to get the legislature to call civil unions marriage their opponents from two years ago seem to have made the argument for them.
Anne Stanback, executive director of Love Makes a Family, said what Connecticut does is important to the national debate because “we don’t want civil unions to become the model for permanent same-sex status.”
She said she would prefer to win the gay marriage debate in the legislature rather than the courts and this is the last legislative session before the courts rule in a lawsuit filed by eight same-sex couples.
Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, said he loves the fact Connecticut is working towards passing public policy on the issue because it debunks the myth that activist judges are shoving it down the state’s throat with a court order.
All three law professors on the panel talked about how difficult a discrimination based or rational basis marriage lawsuit would be to win in court.
Lawlor said the public shouldn’t underestimate the legislative process. “People will have changed their minds because of this process,” he said. In fact, at least four legislators he thought would vote against the bill in committee last week voted in favor of it. “They don’t want to be on the wrong side of history on this issue,” McDonald said.
Lawlor said they’ve learned “it’s hazardous to your political health to be on the opposite side of this” and “they don’t want to be out in front against this issue.”