Same-Sex Marriage In Connecticut: Justice Vertefeuille’s Dissent In Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health

In the coming weeks and months, lots will be written about the Connecticut Supreme Court’s decision in Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health. As it should be.

I’m still digesting the opinion as are other bloggers in Connecticut.

Connecticut Employment Law Blogger, Daniel Schwartz wonders what impact Kerrigan will have on Connecticut employers.

Gideon at A Public Defender writes that Justice Palmer’s opinion in Kerrigan is a “passionate, reasoned and intelligent decision that thoroughly discusses the law and the reasoning behind its decision.” And notes that it is an excellent primer in equal protection law.

Connecticut Local Politics is abuzz about the case.

I’m sure that there will be excellent law review articles written about the case in the coming months that will discuss the opinion in more depth.

Sometimes, as a blogger, I’m driving home for work trying to think of something relevant or maybe more honestly, something to post.  Connecticut seaweed law posts don’t write themselves.

Anyhow, thanks to the Court’s ruling in Kerrigan, I’ve got plenty to write about.

I’ll start with the shortest opinion which is Justice Vertefeuille’s dissent.

In addition to joining with Justice Borden in a dissenting opinion, Justice Vertefeuille wrote her own dissent.

Justice Vertefeuille’s dissent makes the most concise case for legislative deference.

First, ‘‘[i]t is well established that a validly enacted statute carries with it a strong presumption of constitutionality… The court will indulge in every presumption in favor of the statute’s constitutionality…

Justice Vertefueille then discusses the Plaintiffs’ burden:

Moreover, because of this strong presumption favoring a statute’s constitutionality, ‘‘those who challenge its constitutionality must sustain the heavy burden of proving its unconstitutionality beyond a reasonable doubt….

One can imagine the Justices in conference on Kerrigan and  Justice Vertefeuille pointing out the window at the State House and saying “hey guys, this is their call.”

Please comment and share your thoughts.