Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell
signed into law yesterday a gay marriage bill passed by the General
Assembly, the Boston Globe reports.
The bill comes six months after the
Connecticut Supreme Court declared gay and lesbian couples have the
right to marry.
The law transforms civil unions, which
began in 2005, into marriages as of October 1, 2010, unless they are
no longer legal. The bill passed 28 to 7 in the Senate and 100 to 44
in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
In a nod to gay marriage foes, a
last-minute amendment provides “full conscience protection” to
parties that object to gay marriage. Its language includes vendors
and members of the service industry, not only religious groups.
"We wanted to make it completely
clear that the state of Connecticut fully embraces not only the
rights of same-sex couples to marry, but we fully embrace the rights
and protections afforded by the First Amendment of the United States
Constitution and the Connecticut Constitution to the free exercise of
religion," said Sen. Andrew McDonald, a Democrat from Stamford
and gay marriage proponent.
Opponents of gay marriage had asked for
the extra protections and called its inclusion a small victory.
“It made a bad bill better,” Peter
Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut,
a group that opposes gay marriage, told the AP.
“It's a gesture of respect,”
National Organization for Marriage President Maggie Gallagher told
POLITICO. “Even people who want same-sex marriage see that groups
that want marriage to remain between husband and wife have a point.”