Judge OKs Gay Marriage in Conn.

( [email protected] ) Nov 12, 2008 01:07 PM EST

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Gay marriage is legal in Connecticut now that a judge has cleared the way. New Haven Superior Court Judge Jonathan Silbert ruled at a brief hearing Wednesday morning that gay and lesbian couples now may pick up marriage license forms at town and city clerks' offices statewide.

Many gay and lesbian couples are planning ceremonies Wednesday.

The judge ruling followed a historic decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court.

The high court ruled 4-3 on Oct. 10 that same-sex couples have the right to wed rather than accept a civil union law designed to give them the same rights as married couples.

Only Connecticut and Massachusetts have legalized gay marriage.

The unions were legal in California until a statewide referendum to ban gay marriage narrowly passed last week. The vote has sparked protests and several lawsuits asking that state's Supreme Court to overturn the prohibition.

Constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage also passed last week in Arizona and Florida, and Arkansas voters approved a measure banning unmarried couples from serving as adoptive or foster parents.

But in Connecticut, voters last week rejected the idea of a constitutional convention to amend the state's constitution, dealing a major blow to opponents of same-sex marriage.

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