“Sounds like one legislator cried, said she wanted her civil union to be called a marriage, and then they all voted for it.” Well, not exactly. But I understand the frustration of the person who made that comment to me–and the scores of pro-family callers to our office–over MSM coverage of the vote. I was in the room when it happened and will try to provide some of the details you’re looking for that weren’t mentioned by the MSM or–of course!–the pro same-sex “marriage” blogs. I’m paraphrasing from my notes and focusing on key moments that will be of interest to our members. 

Rep. Michael Lawlor, co-chairman of the Committee and leading pro same-sex “marriage” advocate, kicked off the discussion by claiming that this was a “simple” bill that merely changes a name. (Recall the “I never said it was simple” reactions from pro-SSM legislators when Maggie Gallagher explained to them the consequences of redefining marriage.) He said this wasn’t the most important bill of the year but then proceeded to get the surreal tone of the debate off to an early start by invoking Joseph Stalin and South Africa. “You can only side with justice,” he said, and implied that history will view pro-family legislators as equivalent to supporters of Stalinism or apartheid. He mentioned California’s same-sex “marriage” bill (without mentioning that their governor, like ours, has said he will veto it) and that he hopes Connecticut’s Supreme Court will declare civil unions unconstitional.

U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman–at least, prior to the Iraq War–had a reputation as a politician who talks right and votes left. Sen. John Kissel can sometimes seem like a sort of reverse-Lieberman. He began his response by comparing Lawlor’s rhetorical abilities to Mozart’s musical skill. He said it was hard for him to feel justified voting no–that he was not uncompassionate and had voted for the trangender rights bill. He had high praise for pro same-sex “marriage” lobbyists and generally left the impression that he would have voted for the bill but for the clear opposition of his constituents. Nevertheless, on the “I’m not uncompassionate” front, Sen. Kissel did manage a funny line on how he’s not personally a Stalinist or pro-apartheid. He also mentioned the negative effect the bill could have on children, school curriculum, other “unforseen results” and how it had only been two years since civil unions was passed.

Rep. Art O’Neill was, as usual, one of the Committee’s most eloquent and clear-headed speakers. He agreed with Rep. Lawlor that this was not the most important bill but noted that there had been a dozen meetings or hearings on it and that the Committee would not be discussing it but for the co-chairmen’s support of it. He said that elected officials or the people themselves should decide the issue. “This is about raising children.” He took issue with the standard applied by proponents–that same-sex “married” couples could parent as well as divorced heterosexuals–noting that the jury is still out on the effect on kids of same-sex “marriage.” On unforseen results, he referenced the vote a few years ago on freeing up the electric utility market–a vote many legislators now wish they could take back. In the funniest line of the day he said he found Lawlor’s reference to Stalin fascinating because here at the legislature “I often feel I am dealing with people Stalin would have considered ‘left deviationists’ or ‘Trotskyites.'” He said marriage is under much stress today because 20-30 years ago the legislature legalized no fault divorce, lessened the stigma of illegitimacy and had the state subsidize unwed motherhood. All this was done in the name of freedom, equality, etc. But look at the enormously horrendous social consequences today. The consequences of legislative decisions to institutions like marriage aren’t as obvious as to electric rates, but O’Neill’s constituents and others must deal with them and they see it his way. Marriage is more than just 2 people entering into a union. We are draining meaning from marriage and turning it into a contractural arrangement. For all these reasons, O’Neill said, he is voting no. He then sought to amend a resolution onto the bill allowing for a referendum on a marriage protection amendment to the state constitution. Co-Chair Sen. McDonald ruled against holding a vote on Rep. O’Neill’s resolution on technical grounds.

Rep. Beth Bye then gave the emotional speech that provided most media outlets with the lede to their stories. She emphasized her Catholic upbringing and what she says is her father’s devout Catholic faith, how he came to accept her lifestyle and walked her down the aisle at her civil union ceremony. “My church considers me married,” she said, “I want to be married.” Crying at certain points in her remarks, Rep. Bye generally gave the strongest pro same-sex “marriage” speech of the day.

Rep. T.R. Rowe noted that proponents of redefining marriage have done well by using anecdotes and historic analogies to frame their cause as a civil right. He then proceeded to eviscerate their logic. If it is about equality, why limit the issue to gay marriage? There are organizations already pushing for polygamy and other redefinitions of marriage–and using same-sex “marriage” legal victories to do it. “This isn’t about civil rights, it’s about radically redefining the most basic institution we have.” He mentioned the negative statistics regarding children growing up without a mother and father and the “compelling testimony” of Dawn Stefanowicz. He invoked the question Anne Stanback was unable to answer in her 2005 testimony: what’s so magical about the number 2? If “Love Make A Family” why can’t we marry 3 people who love each other? He noted that the bill will not give couples any rights they do not already have. He cited same-sex “marriage”-fueled attacks on religious liberty such as the David Parker case, Catholic Charities forced to give up adoptions in Boston and the lawsuit against the Knights of Columbus in Canada for refusing to rent their hall for a lesbian “wedding.” He then offered an amendment to the bill allowing for a non-binding referendum on the issue. The amendment was defeated 28-13.

Rep. Pat Dillon gave one of the less coherent talks of the day, starting with an anecdote about a Catholic girl in Ireland in the 1990’s who was murdered for marrying a Protestant boy. (“It wasn’t the Vatican,” Rep. Dillon helpfully informs us, “it was tribal.”) Among her reasons for voting yes on same-sex “marriage,” Dillon cited death benefits for the loved ones of the deceased in Iraq, saying this bill “regularizes” that. (The bill, in fact, would have no effect on federal benefits.)

Sen. Ed Gomes, apparently spoiling for a rematch with FIC’s Brian Brown, provided some of the day’s best entertainment. He claimed Brian “smirked” at him in the public hearing when Gomes–in one of a series of nonsequiturs–asked Brian if his pro same-sex “marriage” vote meant he was going to hell. Gomes said he resisted telling Brian to go first–a comment which provoked much laughter in a room packed with pro same-sex “marriage” supporters. He complained bitterly about a message from the Catholic League’s Bill Donahue criticizing him for asking “patently illegitimate” questions of Brian and threatening him with further action “if this continues.” Gomes tried to strike a note of defiance but his quivering voice made him sound nervous, as if all the negative e-mails he had received in response to the incident left him a little shook up. (Subsequent media accounts of Gomes’ speech left out the context and implied that he was responding to “threats” made because of his support for same-sex “marriage.” In 2005, these same media outlets blacked out the story of a pro same-sex “marriage” activist who was prosecuted for making a death threat against the Connecticut Catholic Conference’s Marie Hilliard because of her opposition to civil unions.)

Rep. Bruce Morris, a freshman Democrat and African-American minister, made some of the most interesting remarks of the day. He cited Loving vs. Virginia, the case striking down laws forbidding people of different races to marry, on how “marriage is fundamental to our very existence and survival.” He said Brian was right about 2 men being biologically incapable (“without outside intervention”) of having a child and that it was for reasons like this that a very liberal court in Washington ruled against same-sex “marriage.” He mentioned the remarks of another African-American member of the Committee, saying that he too had thought about this as an African-American–and concluded that the civil rights analogy employed by same-sex “marriage” proponents doesn’t hold up. It isn’t arbitrary for the legislature to say marriage is between a man and a woman because, historically and culturally, it is true. Faith institutions originally defined what marriage was and the government does not have the right to redefine it. He noted that the bill replaces “bride” and “groom” with “person.” Focusing on the “biological impossibilities,” Morris made one of the most subtle arguments against same-sex “marriage” ever put forth by a member of the Judiciary Committee–arguments that were completely missed by our opponents in all their commentary on his speech. Morris argued that same-sex couples aren’t equal to opposite-sex couples and that this fact need not be negative. In fact, Morris argues, it is the proponents of same-sex “marriage” that are not valuing diversity in this debate. As I understand Morris, he is saying that civil unions recognizes–perhaps even celebrates–that same-sex couples are different. Same-sex “marriage” is against diversity because it refuses to acknowledge that the difference exists and that the difference is not bad. It’s a different argument than the ones put forth by FIC. But the increased level of under-the-breath grumbling by same-sex “marriage” proponents while Morris was making his case–and the adolescent snickering he’s provoked on liberal blogs–shows he’s hit a nerve.

Rep. William Tong tried to tackle the polygamy argument head-on, saying that equal protection should not be reduced to an absurdity. Of course, the pro-family side would respond that same-sex “marriage” already does that. Rep. Tong argued that polygamy is not socially beneficial and that we collectively agree that such arrangements are wrong. But we “collectively agreed” to the same thing on same-sex “marriage” until recently. If our current “collective agreement” breaks down–and our opponents have meanwhile planted in the law the premise that marriage can be redefined–why not polygamy? Tong’s civil rights analogies caused Morris to speak a second time, specifically to shoot them down.

Sen. Andrew McDonald wrapped up the discussion by saying that we–opponents and supporters–would all be lifted up by the passage of same-sex “marriage” and that he said the same thing about civil unions. (In 2005 he said on the floor of the Senate that the only reasons to oppose civil unions were “hatred and bigotry.” As he was saying this, Marie Hilliard was watching in the bleachers, guarded by plainclothes police because of the aforementioned death threat.) Like Lawlor, McDonald, too, said he hopes the court will impose same-sex “marriage” on Connecticut.

The same-sex “marriage” bill passed the Judiciary Committee by a vote of 27-15. It will now go to the House of Representatives, if Speaker Amann and his caucus decide to bring it up for a vote. Gov. Rell last week repeated her promise to veto it.

22 Responses to “Judiciary Committee’s Same-Sex “Marriage” Debate”

  1. on 16 Apr 2007 at 5:21 pmLisa


    The Marie Hilliard threats were obviously horrible and undeserved.

    However, what makes you think that proponents of same-sex marriage also did not have threats against them and also had plainclothes police with them, too?

    Any kind of threat against anyone is horrible, and I’m sure every side of every argument has had these threats made against them, but why use them for political gain? Do you see the proponents of same sex marriage doing that? No. It’s not something to brag about.

  2. on 16 Apr 2007 at 6:36 pmPeter

    What am I “bragging” about? A media bias that views the lives of those with politically incorrect viewpoints as being of lesser value?

    If it had been reversed–if someone claiming to be on our side had made a death threat against a major leader of our opposition–the media coverage would have been endless.

  3. on 16 Apr 2007 at 7:56 pmCTDemGirl79

    Peter –

    What makes you think that an anti-gay marriage individual has never made death threats against a major leader of your opposition? Because it has never been covered in “The Courant”?

    How do you know that there haven’t been threats made and the Courant has just declined to cover them, thereby tearing down that argument in support of the liberal media bias?

  4. on 17 Apr 2007 at 7:19 amPaul

    I think the “media bias ” is soo blatantly obvious to any one who looks with an open mind into the subject. It seems to me that the news papers editorial positions greatly influence their reporting of “news”. So that the “news” becomes a means of them advocating their polictical philosophy. Do you remeber the coverage of the pro-marriage banners being systematically torn down from church buildings ? The example of the coverage of the Danbury high school student having to get legal aide in order have her club invite a former lesbian speaker will suffice.
    Thanks Peter for the detailed account you gave above. I have been considering what Abraham Lincoln said in 1863, I really bears contemplating by Americans today and I include for others to chew on.
    “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which has preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.” Abraham Lincoln 1863

  5. on 17 Apr 2007 at 8:12 amchele

    Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

  6. on 17 Apr 2007 at 11:00 pmTricia

    Paul, I agree with and appreciate the quote from Lincoln, concerning our dependence upon God, and false pride.

    I’m just afraid that perhaps the majority in the world today have simply become too Godless to be susceptible to such entreaty as Lincoln made. Then there are the other millions who are just so addicted to their sexual depravities (of whatever nature–including heterosexual promiscuity), that they willfully defy the laws of God and medical & psychological facts.

    Thus the radical gay activists seek to get mankind (be they legislators or activist judges) to try to overrule the Laws of God. If they succeed in their objectives (such as through SSM), they seem to believe that they can change the negative consequences of their behaviors.

  7. on 18 Apr 2007 at 8:02 amCTDemGirl79

    I understand that there are are other arguments in support of “liberal media bias” that I don’t really have the time or energy to discuss here.

    However, I believe the newspapers failing to cover the death threats against Ms. Hilliard is not an example of this “bias”. As Lisa said, these threats are horrible and undeserved but I don’t think the fact that they were not covered in the media is indicative of this “bias.”

    First, threats are not uncommon in politics, even in local politics. I would be EXTREMELY surprised if Mike Lawlor and Andrew McDonald had not received threats as a result of their support for gay marriage. I do know of death threats against other elected (Democratic) officials unrelated to this issue that have not been covered in the media. I understand that the threats against Marie Hilliard are more disturbing because she is not an elected official, however, it’s not unheard of that someone who makes a comment in the newspaper that some crazy person disagrees with with will get a threat from said crazy person. High profile criminal defense attorneys are an example of people who get death threats routinely. And who knows? Maybe Anne Stanback has gotten threats. Seems unlikely but not impossible. But I get the impression that nobody on this blog knows for sure.

    Secondly, given how common these threats can be, I think it’s generally a good idea for the media to be inclined not to cover them. That sort of coverage seems like it would only fuel the psychotic, attention-seeking personalities of the sort of people who make death threats. Elected officials and prominent citizens could all be safer if the media has a presumption against covering this kind of thing.

    I sincerely hope that Ms. Hilliard was offered the proper protection following the threat and am certainly glad that nothing came of the threat. I can only imagine how upsetting something like that can be. My only point is that I think there are probably people on both sides of the debate who have been threatened and I don’t think the failure of the media to cover it is an example of media “bias.”

  8. on 18 Apr 2007 at 11:24 amStephen

    6 Tricia:

    What about those of us who do not believe in God, or who believe in a God that does not condemn or punish homosexual behavior? Would you have us locked up, exterminated, or sent away? Is belief in (your) God a prerequisite for being an American citizen? Is it a prerequisite for possessing human rights? For participating in the political process?

    Quotes from Lincoln, and from the Bible, can be (and have been) used to justify any position whatsoever. An appeal to reason will get you further in a debate than an appeal to (dubious) authority.

    Gay people aren’t “addicted to sexual depravity.” They are different from you, so I can understand how this would be hard for you to grasp, but to label them “depraved” is very un-Christian, to say the least. Judge not, lest you be judged (and found wanting).

  9. on 18 Apr 2007 at 11:32 amStephen

    Here are some “medical and psychological facts” for you to chew on:

    And please, please try to understand: It is not possible for “radical gay activists [to] seek to get mankind (be they legislators or activist judges) to try to overrule the Laws of God” if they do not believe in the existence of (your) God in the first place! You don’t fight against something that you don’t believe is real! You may “fight” to enlighten the the unfortunate fools who believe in ghosts, but that’s as far as it goes!

  10. on 18 Apr 2007 at 2:56 pmTricia


    You asked a lot of ridiculous questions which don’t need answering, so I won’t take the bait. But 3 comments in reply:

    1. I did NOT label gay people “depraved.” What I said was: “Then there are the other millions [speaking of people in general] who are just so addicted to their sexual depravities (of whatever nature–including heterosexual promiscuity), that they willfully defy the laws of God and medical & psychological facts.” Don’t you get my point? I’m referring to a whole range of depravities, including promiscuity, pedophilia, “swinging,” pornography, adultery, etc.

    2. My intent is not to judge. (I’m simply affirming that I do believe in His Laws and Word.) God is the ultimate Judge, the one we will all stand before, to account for our actions in this earth life—whether or not we believe in Him. A disbelief in Him will not lessen His power over all things, or allow those unbelievers to escape accountability for their acts.

    3. Since you are offended by references to God and The Bible, I will rephrase one of my statements in “An appeal to reason.” Herewith:

    “The radical gay activists seek to get mankind (be they legislators or activist judges) to try to overrule a Law of Nature. If they succeed in their objectives (such as through SSM), they seem to believe that they can change the negative consequences of their behaviors.” (It IS a law of nature that it takes a man and a woman to create a child, which law of nature is the root of the institution of “marriage.”)

  11. on 19 Apr 2007 at 11:56 amGabe

    I think the “media bias ” is soo blatantly obvious to any one who looks with an open mind into the subject.

    Did anyone else spit milk out of their nose from laughing when they read this line?

  12. on 19 Apr 2007 at 3:28 pmchele

    “Did anyone else spit milk out of their nose from laughing when they read this line?”

    No, but I wasn’t drinking milk at the time.

    Amazing, ain’t it?

  13. on 19 Apr 2007 at 4:26 pmmatt

    “Did anyone else spit milk out of their nose from laughing when they read this line?”

    No, but I wasn’t drinking milk at the time.

    Gabe, you’re such a good boy 🙂

  14. on 19 Apr 2007 at 6:16 pmPaul

    Gabe, Matt, and Chele you guys are really your own worst enemies. All you are doing is proving what many people say about the radical left. You come to a BLOG for pro-Family issues and spend your time ridiculing others and then patting yourselves on the back for how witty you think you are. If you don’t have logical arguments to add here, then why are you here ? Be honest. You have two contrasting world views here. 1. We are on this planet through a random senseless meeting of matter, time and space. or 2. We are living in an ordered universe that was planned, created and is sustained by a loving Heavenly Father. I see #2 as the only rational option.

  15. on 19 Apr 2007 at 7:46 pmDave

    I too have been finding this incessant taunting and “trolling” by certain regulars on the Left, who visit the FIC blog only to rabble-rouse, to be very bothersome. But keep these verses in mind:

    “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5: 11-12)

    “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5: 44)

    We’re praying for you – Matt, Chele, Gabe – that the Lord may put a right spirit within each of you. He has the power to turn the negative to positive, the hate to love, the evil to good. He has the power to turn the lies to truth, the slander to praise, the curses to blessings.

    I have personally met many Christians who turned a complete 180 degrees from their past lives of sin, and their testimony is proof of the miraculous change of heart that can occur. Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for all of your sins, and who rose again in glorious victory, has a plan for your life if you are willing to accept his gift of salvation. I pray you will at least take a moment to stop in the hustle and bustle of your day, to quietly contemplate and listen for His call. Jesus came to seek and redeem the lost. And that, truly, is amazing grace.

  16. on 19 Apr 2007 at 8:42 pmmatt

    We all think these issues are important, Paul. And we’re all quite nice, really. I talked with Brian for a long while at the capitol one time, and we got along just fine.

    Calling Gabe a good boy is just a little bit of a tease, you know, people chatting and being friendly-like online. In reality, Gabe is probably just drinking milk to set a good example round the house.

    peace / matt

  17. on 19 Apr 2007 at 10:39 pmchele

    Paul, are we here to argue the origin of the universe? I thought we were discussing same sex marriage.

  18. on 20 Apr 2007 at 4:41 amCaroline

    But Paul, option # 2 is based on faith. It may seem rational to you, but it’s not demonstrable fact. Option # 1 is also faith-based, and cannot be proven or disproven. I don’t believe either of these is “true.” I’m ultimately agnostic about the whole thing, although I am a practicing member of a non-Christian religious tradition. I happen to believe that we live in an ordered, meaningful universe that was NOT created by “a loving heavenly father.”

    But all that is really beside the point. A democracy such as ours protects and thrives on PLURALISM. It was created to protect and allow all citizens, regardless of their faith tradition, to participate equally in the fundamental benefits of citizenship. Civil marriage is one of those areas, the boundaries of which have evolved over time as our society and government has seen fit.

  19. on 20 Apr 2007 at 5:43 amPaul

    Caroline, Science shows an order to the universe on any level. This really is a fact. There are 600,000 pages of coding on one strand of human DNA ! This is not here by chance. You would have to believe that your computer randomly assembled itself out of pieces that randomly formed and then the computer programmed itself. Keep in mind there is more info in the dna of one human body cell then in your computer.
    The planet earth spins on it’s axis while orbiting the sun like a giant , perfectly timed machine. Either this is by the random meeting of matter and time ( hard to believe), or it is the scientific evidence of a planned Creator who made it to sustain human life.
    I don’t see an evolving morality as tenable.
    If you redefine something today why can’t you do that again next week? With the only basis for law current thought. Why not limit “marriage two only two people? Why couldn’t a man marry his sister? They could agree not to have children so why infirnge on their rights? They love each other already. Who are you to say no? Or really why have any kind of non-religeous marriage at all? Why not have some legal bond to protect your property etc..that point I really don’t understand Any way thats my thoughts. But Caroline I do appreciate the way you post your thoughts and have ratioanl thoughtfull and polite phylisophical arguments.
    Dave , thanks for the reminder. I feel though that many people are put off from posting their thoughts here because of not wanting to engage the “rude radicals”. Most members of FIC are just traditinal family folks busy going to work, dealing with raising kids paying their bills etc..they would like to be able to share their thoughts here but don’t want to be bullied by the TROLLS.

  20. on 20 Apr 2007 at 5:59 amPaul

    Chele, Remember you can still smile again today because your mom chose to have you.
    There is a direct connectition to how you view the world and moral ideas. One flows out of the other. In 1946 Aldous Huxley , in his book ENDS and MEANS wrote, “I want this world not to have meaning because it frees me to my own erotic lusts”. The lust is the driving force of the thought.

  21. on 20 Apr 2007 at 11:05 amCaroline

    We have to agree to disagree on issues like creation. The point is, again, our democracy is pluralistic and allows for us to live together and disagree and yet not impose our religiously-based concepts of morality onto others in areas of private family life. And please don’t revert to the same studies and empirical “date” that have been bandied about in this debate, because they are pretty much as subjective as raw, naked assertions of religious faith.

    The legislative language as approved by the Judiciary committee does not infringe on your religious belief or practice. It does not require any faith tradition to bless same-sex unions, nor does it require anyone to enter into one. If you believe same-sex marriage is immoral, don’t have one!

    At the same time, unlike the current DOMA language that’s on the books, it does not infringe on the liberty of your fellow citizens who see no such prohibition to same-sex marriage. Those individuals do not want the continued stigma that comes with the second-class status of civil union, nor have they done anything to deserve it. No one religious tradition should be able to dictate who can be CIVILLY married, because we (supposedly) enjoy separation of curch and state in our country.

    I understand the need for evangelism and promoting one’s faith in the conservative and evangelical Christian traditions. Persuade all you want – you just can’t use the force of law to impose your beliefs and practices onto those who don’t share your brand of faith.

  22. on 20 Apr 2007 at 2:54 pmchele


    Judge not lest ye be judged. How is it that you can call me a sinner?

    I have a perfectly fine relationship with my God and have no need of your intervention; since I honestly believe you are manipulating and using faith (and people of faith) in the most cynical and abusive ways — and will be judged accordingly when the time comes — I would ask that you NOT pray for me.

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