Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Case Law Development: Family Institute Properly Denied Intervention in Same-Sex Marriage Constitutional Challenge

The Connecticut Supreme Court has upheld a trial court's refusal to allow the Family Institute of Connecticut to intervene as a party defendant in a declaratory judgment action challenging the constitutionality of Connecticut's denial of marriage licenses to same sex couples. (While the lower court had already granted summary judgment in the action, the court addressed the intervention issue because it would be relevant if the appeal from that summary judgment were to be successful. See Family Law Prof Post 10/1/2005 regarding this suit)  The court found that the institute had no basis for intervention of right because its interest in the action was not of "direct and immediate character", but rather one of generalized interest in public policy and because the institute had failed to defeat the presumption that the attorney general would adequately conducting the defense of the marriage statutes.

As to the argument regarding permissive intervention, the court concluded that:

Even if we were to assume,  arguendo, that the institute has an interest sufficient to justify permissive intervention, we conclude that the trial court nevertheless did not abuse its discretion by denying the motion for permissive intervention. Reviewing the other factors, the trial court reasonably could have determined that the institute's interest in defending the constitutionality of the marriage laws would be adequately represented by the attorney general, whose defense of state statutes is "presumed" to be adequate.

...the trial court recognized the import of the institute's expertise in this area, including its proffered scientific studies with respect to children who lack mother or father figures, by permitting it to participate as an amicus curiae. n16 Indeed, our review of the record demonstrates that the institute has filed an extensive amicus brief that contains ample references to those scientific studies.

Kerrigan v. Comm'r of Pub. Health, 2006 Conn. LEXIS 298 (August 15, 2006)
Opinion on the web (last visited August 15, 2006)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/family_law/2006/08/case_law_develo_17.html

Marriage (impediments) | Permalink

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