The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that the gay couples have right to marry, thus making it the third state in the United States after Massachusetts and California to legalise such marriages.
In a sharply divided four to three ruling, the judges held that the law limiting marriages to heterosexual couples and providing another facility of civil unions for gay couples violated the constitutional guarantees of equal protection under the law.
While gay couples celebrated the judgement which will be implemented from October 28, religious and conservative groups described it outrageous and vowed to work for a constitutional ban on same sex marriages.
There were hugs and kisses by gay couples who would now get all rights that heterosexual couples enjoy even as the opponents looked on with disgust knowing they can do little about it.
Governor M Jodi Rell, though disagreed with the decision, has expressed little hope for it being reversed by legislative measures or amendment of the state constitution, saying that such efforts would not succeed.
She said that she does not think it reflects the views of the majority but she would uphold it as the Supreme Court has spoken.
In the majority judgement, the Court apparently considered its decision was aimed at bringing social justice. For, it recalled discriminatory laws of recent past, including ban on inter-racial marriages and providing separate public facilities for blacks.
"Like these once prevalent views, our conventional understanding of marriage must yield to a more contemporary appreciation of the rights entitled to constitutional protection," Justice Richard N Palmer wrote.
"Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same-sex partner of their choice," Justice Palmer declared.