Christine Stuart photo
Gov. M. Jodi Rell (Christine Stuart photo)

Gov. M. Jodi Rell became the first governor in the nation to sign a gay marriage bill into law Thursday.

But the momentous event was done with little fanfare. There was no signing ceremony and no press release issued by Rell’s office.

When asked about the bill Friday at a press conference, Rell said, “this bill simply codifies the Supreme Court ruling.” She said if she didn’t sign it, it wouldn’t have made any difference. But if “the legislature took the time to debate and pass the bill, I thought it was necessary to sign,” she said.

In 2005 when Rell became the first governor to sign the civil union law, which allowed same-sex couples to enter into a legal relationship similar to a marriage, she said she thought marriage was only between a man and a woman.

When asked if she thought Rell should have made a bigger fuss over the signing of the bill, Betty Gallo, a lobbyist who has supported and promoted marriage equality for more than a decade said, “We really appreciate the governor signing the bill.”

Gallo said she was excited to tell Rell Friday that she was the first governor in the nation to sign such a bill into law.

In Vermont the legislature overrode the governor’s veto, in Massachusetts the Supreme Court’s decision was never codified by its legislature, and in California the issue was decided by the state’s Supreme Court before it was defeated by voters during last November’s referendum.

“The law of the land has already been established by the Connecticut State Supreme Court,” Rell said Friday.

Upon learning that she signed the bill Thursday, Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, released a statement saying, “Four years ago this week, Governor Rell signed our groundbreaking civil union law, which had broad bipartisan support. Today she signed another landmark piece of bipartisan legislation affirming the rights and dignity of all Connecticut’s citizens.”

The bill, which Rell signed into law Thursday, transforms civil unions into marriages as of Oct. 1, 2010 and redefines marriage as the legal union of two people. It also says religious organizations and associations don’t have to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies.

The bill passed 28 to 7 in the Senate and 100 to 44 in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

Kimberly Primicerio contributed to this report