The Connecticut Supreme Court announced today that gay couples have the right to marry, the announcement came just five months after the California Supreme Court concluded the same.

Connecticut stands poised to become only the third state in the United States, after California and Massachusetts, to allow gay marriage.

“Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same sex partner of their choice,” the justices wrote. “To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others.”

“[S]ame sex couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry.”

Connecticut enacted civil unions for gay couples in 2005. And in 2007 the state legislature introduced a bill that would allow gay marriage in the state, but failed to vote on it.

Eight gay couples sued the state, claiming their constitutional rights to equal protection were violated when they were denied marriage licenses in 2004, before civil unions were enacted. But in 2006, a Superior Court judged ruled against them arguing that civil unions offered equal benefits, protections and responsibilities under the law.

Today the Supreme Court of Connecticut in a 4-3 decision in Kerrigan and Mock V. Connecticut Department of Public Health disagreed, saying the right to marry was a constitutional right that could not be denied.

“Today, Connecticut couples have won an essential victory in the struggle for basic legal rights and the dignity of all people,” Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Executive Director Jody Huckaby said. “Tomorrow, and every day after that, all of us at PFLAG will remain vigilant in ensuring that those rights are never denied again and never taken away from those we love. Equality is moving forward, slowly but surely, in state after state. None of us must rest, however, until every state recognizes the rights of every citizen.”

A 2PM press conference/rally today in Hartford will discuss the court's ruling.