LGBT rights in Connecticut

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Map of USA CT.svg
StatusLegal since 1971
Gender identityTransgender people allowed to change gender without surgery
Discrimination protectionsYes (both sexual orientation and gender identity/expression)
Family rights
Recognition of relationshipsSame-sex marriage legal since 2008

The establishment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in the U.S. state of Connecticut is a recent phenomenon, with most advances in LGBT rights taking place in the 21st century. In regard to very liberal LGBT rights, Connecticut was the second U.S. state to enact two major pieces of pro-LGBT legislation; the repeal of the sodomy law in 1971 and the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2008. State law bans discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity. In addition, both conversion therapy and the gay panic defense are outlawed in the state.

Connecticut is regarded as one of the most LGBT-friendly U.S. states, on account of its early adoption of LGBT rights legislation.

Legality of same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Laws against consensual sodomy were repealed in 1971.[1][2]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

Connecticut enacted a civil union law effective October 1, 2005, that provided same-sex couples with some of the same rights and responsibilities under state law as married couples.[3]

On October 10, 2008, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry and said the state's civil union statute violated the equal protection clause of the state Constitution. The decision came in a case brought in 2004 by eight same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses in the town of Madison.[4] The first same-sex marriages in Connecticut took place on November 12.[5]

In April 2009, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a bill to fully codify same-sex marriage within Connecticut statutes, abolished civil unions and all existing civil unions automatically became civil marriages from October 1, 2010. The bill was signed into law by Republican Governor Jodi Rell.[6][7]

Discrimination protections[edit]

Connecticut bans discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in public places, public and private employment, governmental services and in receiving goods and services from public places or governmental institutions.[8][9][10] Sexual orientation discrimination has been prohibited in the state since 1991, and gender identity or expression was added to the state's anti-discrimination law in 2011.

Moreover, the state's anti-bullying law prohibits bullying on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, socio-economic status, academic status, physical appearance, mental, physical, developmental and sensory disability and association with an individual or group of people that have one or more of such characteristics. The law also explicitly includes cyberbullying and harassment, and applies to all school premises in the state.[11]

Hate crime law[edit]

All individual citizens under state law are protected from hate crimes motivated by both sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.[12]

Gay panic defense[edit]

In June 2019, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a bill unanimously to repeal the gay panic defense. The bill was signed into law and became an act by Governor Ned Lamont. The law will go into effect on 1 October 2019.[13][14][15]

Adoption and parenting[edit]

Connecticut allows adoption by single individuals, opposite sex and same-sex couples, married or not. Statutes say that the sexual orientation of a prospective adoptive parent may be considered in adoption decisions, but there is no evidence that an adoption has been denied on the basis of sexual orientation.[16]

In May 2018, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families launched a campaign designed with encouraging same-sex couples to apply to become adoptive parents. Governor Dannel Malloy also called on more couples to apply, adding that about 4,000 children were in foster care at that time.[17]

Gender identity and expression[edit]

In June 2015, the Connecticut General Assembly passed H.B. No. 7006 (Senate by a vote of 32-3 and the House by a vote of 126-18), a law to make it easier for transgender people to access and/or change to their birth certificates without any surgery. Governor Dannel Malloy signed the bill into law and went into effect on October 1, 2015.[18][19]

Prison reform[edit]

On July 1, 2018, Connecticut became the first jurisdiction in the United States to legally ensure all individuals are treated consistent with their gender identity including with regard to strip searches and access to clothing, commissary items and educational materials, as well as housing based on their recognized gender.[20][21]

Conversion therapy[edit]

On May 2, 2017, the Connecticut House of Representatives passed a bill (HB 6695), by a vote of 141-8, to ban conversion therapy on minors. The bill passed by a unanimous vote of 36-0 in the Hung 18-Republican and 18-Democrat Connecticut Senate on May 10. Governor Dannel P. Malloy (D) signed the bill into law immediately after, and it went into effect immediately.[22][23][24][25]

Public opinion[edit]

A 2017 Public Religion Research Institute poll found that 73% of Connecticut residents supported same-sex marriage, while 20% were opposed and 7% were unsure.[26]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since 1971)[2]
Equal age of consent Yes (Since 1971)[2]
Anti-discrimination laws in all areas Yes (Sexual orientation since 1991 and gender identity since 2011)
Same-sex marriages Yes (Since 2008; codified into law in 2009)
Recognition of same-sex couples (e.g. civil union) Yes (Since 2005)
Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples Yes
Joint adoption by same-sex couples Yes
Lesbians, gays and bisexuals allowed to serve openly in the military Yes (Since 2011)
Transgender people allowed to serve openly in the military No
Right to change legal gender without sex reassignment surgery Yes
Access to IVF for lesbians Yes
Gay and trans panic defense Yes (Effective from October 1, 2019)
Conversion therapy banned on minors Yes (Since 2017)
Surrogacy access for gay male couples Yes[27]
MSMs allowed to donate blood Yes/No (1 year deferral period)


  1. ^ "Connecticut Sodomy Law". 2007-03-08. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  2. ^ a b c "The History of Sodomy Laws in the United States, Connecticut".
  3. ^ New York Times: William Yardley, "Connecticut Approves Civil Unions for Gays," April 21, 2005, accessed June 26, 2011
  4. ^ New York Times: Robert D McFadden, "Gay Marriage Is Ruled Legal in Connecticut," October 10, 2008, accessed March 11, 2011
  5. ^ New York Times: Lisa W. Foderaro, "Gay Marriages Begin in Connecticut," November 12, 2008, accessed March 11, 2011
  6. ^ "Rell Becomes First Gov. To Sign Gay Marriage Bill". CT News Junkie.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2013-09-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ KIRK JOHNSON (1991-04-18). "Connecticut Senate Passes Law Protecting Gay Rights". Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  9. ^ Human Rights Campaign: Connecticut Non-Discrimination Law Archived 2012-01-30 at the Wayback Machine, accessed July 6, 2011
  10. ^ Wareham, Hannah Clay (July 6, 2011). "Conn. governor signs transgender protections into law". Bay Windows. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
  11. ^ "Connecticut Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies". March 13, 2012.
  12. ^ "Connecticut Hate Crimes Law". Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  13. ^ "Connecticut lawmakers move to ban 'gay panic defense'". Yahoo News. 5 June 2019.
  14. ^ Altimari, Daniela (4 June 2019). "Bill banning gay panic defense gets final passage in the House". Hartford Courant.
  15. ^ "CT SB00058". LegiScan.
  16. ^ Human Rights Campaign: Connecticut Adoption Law Archived 2012-02-17 at the Wayback Machine, accessed June 26, 2011
  17. ^ Anapol, Avery (May 18, 2018). "Connecticut recruiting LGBT families to adopt children as other states let adoption agencies ban same-sex couples". TheHill.
  18. ^ "Connecticut Makes Changing Birth Certificates Easier for Trans Folks". June 30, 2015.
  19. ^ Press, Associated (June 1, 2015). "Connecticut lawmakers send bill to governor to ease birth certificate changes".
  20. ^ "CT Takes a Leading Stance on Protections for Trans People Who Are Incarcerated". May 10, 2018.
  22. ^ "Connecticut House votes to bar gay 'conversion therapy'". May 2, 2017.
  23. ^ "Vote for HB-6695 Sequence Number 114".
  24. ^ "Connecticut becomes the latest US state to ban gay 'cure' therapy". May 11, 2017.
  25. ^ "Unanimous passage, quick signing of ban on anti-gay 'therapy'". May 10, 2017.
  26. ^ Consulting, Epicenter. "PRRI – American Values Atlas".
  27. ^ "Gestational surrogacy law across the United States".