December 6, 2002
UPDATE ON CONNECTICUT CASES INVOLVING SAME-SEX PARTNERS
By: Susan Price-Livingston, Associate Attorney
You asked about the status of the following Connecticut cases involving same-sex partners.
ROSENGARTEN V. DOWNES
Rosengarten v. Downes is the case in which a state resident, Glen Rosengarten, filed suit in Connecticut Superior Court seeking to dissolve the civil union he entered into in Vermont with Peter Downes, a New York resident. The court, acting on its own authority, dismissed the case, concluding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the action did not fall within the statutory definition of "family relations" matter. The appellate court affirmed in July 2002, and on September 19, 2002, the Connecticut Supreme Court agreed to review the case.
Mr. Rosengarten died a few weeks later. According to Kenneth Bartschi, one of Rosengarten's lawyers in the Supreme Court case, the Court has stayed the action until early May. In the meantime, the Probate Court has appointed an executor of Mr. Rosengarten's estate, and that person is assessing whether to go forward with the appeal.
Bartschi indicated that Mr. Downes has until mid-April to claim a forced share of Mr. Rosengarten's estate.
FRIEDMAN V. OFFICE OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER
Friedman v. Office of the State Comptroller is a case pending at the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO). It was filed by a state employee involved in a long-term heterosexual domestic partnership who alleges that the state's health and retirement plan, which offers benefits to same-sex domestic partners only, discriminates on the basis of marital status and sexual orientation.
The CHRO has found reasonable cause and will hold a public hearing (the administrative equivalent of a trial) within three to six months, reports Lena Ferguson, the agency's legislative liaison.