CT Couple Who Married in MA Have Nothing to Annul

March 31, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - In an interesting twist in the same-sex marriage debate, a Connecticut couple filing for an annulment of their civil marriage have been told that their union cannot be dissolved because, legally, there is nothing to dissolve.

>The lesbian couple filed a civil marriage with a clerk in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and have since filed for an annulment in their home state of Connecticut, according to the Connecticut Law Tribune. However, Hartford Superior Court Judge Linda Pearce Prestley has stated that she has no jurisdiction in the case because the state legislature has deemed same-sex unions as against public policy and because Massachusetts unions are not valid in the Constitution State.

>Relying on precedent from a 2002 Appellate Court decision in which two men attempted to annul their Vermont-based civil union, Prestley said she has no jurisdiction in the “family relations matter.” She also, following the Appellate Court, noted that the Defense of Marriage Act makes it clear that no state must legally recognize another jurisdiction’s same-sex marriages.

>Since Connecticut does not allow same-sex marriages, Massachusetts does not allow marriages if the parties involved plan to reside in a jurisdiction that does not recognize such marriages and federal law allows states to opt out of other state’s marriage definitions, Prestley ruled that there was legally no marriage to annul.

In her opinion, Prestley stated that the union in question was “premised on a violation of the Massachusetts marriage statute, the ‘civil marriage’ was not valid from its inception, but null and void, and, therefore, Connecticut has nothing to dissolve or annul.” She also noted that the state’s laws marriage would be violated if the Massachusetts marriage was recognized. She then dismissed the case, citing a lack of jurisdiction.

However, cases such as this may eventually make their way into Connecticut’s courts. Legislation that would allow civil unions is making its way through the state legislature, with the General Assembly Appropriations Committee voting 30-15 in favor on March 21 (See CT Civil Unions Bill Advances Out of Committee ).