Connecticut Supreme Court Rules Same-Sex Marriage Rights Retroactive
In what LGBT rights advocates are hailing as the first decision of its kind, the Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that some legal rights of same-sex couples predate the state’s 2005 approval of civil unions and 2008 legalization of gay marriage.
The Associated Press reports the justices ruled 6-0 in favor of overturning two lower court decisions and allowing a widow to sue a doctor in connection with the malpractice death of her spouse.
According to the Hartford Courant, Margaret Mueller, who died of cancer in January 2009, had been misdiagnosed and treated for the wrong type of cancer.
Mueller’s widow, Charlotte Stacey, is suing for medical malpractice as well as for the loss of her spouse and her income. The alleged malpractice occurred between 2001 and 2004, when only married couples were legally permitted to sue for the loss of spousal consortium.
Speaking for the court, Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers wrote that “society has come to accept the view that committed same-sex couples… are entitled to the same social and legal recognition as committed opposite sex couples.”
Stacey, 63, was satisfied with the court’s decision.
“The Supreme Court sought fit to rectify this injustice,” she told the AP. “It validates my loss of my spouse for the fact that what I suffered for the seven years that Marge had cancer… and all that I gave up and all that I don’t have because she died because of the malpractice.”
LGBT rights advocates also hailed the decision.
“It’s another example of the Connecticut Supreme Court leading the way in recognizing that the love and commitment of same-sex couples is exactly the same as different-sex couples,” Ben Klein, a lawyer for the Boston-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), told the AP.