This memorandum is a revised and updated response to your prior request of October
20, 2008 for an opinion as to whether a Connecticut marriage certificate from a same-sex
marriage can be used as proof of a name change. You also inquired as to the actual
date Connecticut can start legally performing same-sex marriages and issuing marriage
certificate to same-sex couples. Finally, you inquired as to what terms Connecticut
would use on a marriage certificate to refer to the parties to a same-sex marriage. A
Connecticut marriage certificate from a same-sex marriage may be used as proof of
a name change in Connecticut. Connecticut began issuing marriage certificate to same-sex
couples on November 12, 2008 and the first same-sex marriages took place on that date.
Connecticut marriage applications and certificates contain three designations in referring
to each of the parties to a marriage: bride/groom/spouse.
The Connecticut Supreme Court issued a decision effective October 28, 2008, which
held that same-sex couples cannot be precluded from marrying under Connecticut law.
Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health, 289 Conn. 135, 957 A.2d 407 (Conn. 2008). On November 12, 2008, the Connecticut
Superior Court entered a final order granting the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment
and application for injunctive relief. Marriage licenses were made available to same
sex couples on November 21, 2008, and the first same-sex weddings took place on that
date. As of November 12, 2008, marriage application worksheets and certificates have
had three designations for each party to a marriage: bride/groom/spouse. On April
23, 2009, Connecticut amended its marriage laws to expressly allow for same-sex marriage,
defining marriage as “the legal union of two persons.” Public Act No. 09-13, section
3, codified as Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-20(4).
Connecticut permits the use of an original or certified copy of a marriage license
or certificate of civil union as proof of an individual’s name or name change for
purposes of obtaining a driver’s license. Conn. Agencies Regs. § 14-137-63(b). Thus,
a name change request based upon a Connecticut marriage certificate relating to the
union of two individuals of the same sex should be processed under Program Operating
Manual System (POMS) RM 10212.035 and RM 10212.055 in the same fashion as any other name change request based upon a Connecticut marriage
We also note that with respect to the dissolution of a Connecticut same-sex marriage,
Connecticut’s statutes concerning dissolution of a marriage would apply equally to
opposite-sex and same-sex marriages. In Connecticut a marriage is dissolved by a decree
of annulment or dissolution. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-40. Under Conn. Gen. Stat. §
46b-63(a), at the time of entry of a decree dissolving a marriage, upon the request
of either party, the court shall restore a person’s birth name or former name. The
court may also modify a previously issued decree dissolving a marriage to restore
a birth name or former name. Conn. Gen. Stat § 46b-63(b). Connecticut state agencies
appear to accept as proof of a name change an original or certified copy of certificate
of dissolution of marriage. See, e.g., Conn. Agencies Regs. § 14-137-63(b).
It should be noted that, effective October 1, 2010, all still-existing (i.e., not dissolved or annulled or previously converted to marriage) civil unions registered
in Connecticut were transformed into marriages by operation of law, except for such
instances where proceeding for dissolution, annulment or legal separation were pending
on October 1, 2010. In the latter cases, such civil unions were to continue to be
governed by the prior law which had governed civil unions. CONN. GEN. STAT. ANN. §
46b-38rr. Accordingly, dissolution of civil unions converted into marriage by operation
of law should be treated in the same fashion as other Connecticut same-sex marriages.
A Connecticut same-sex marriage certificate may be used as proof of a name change
in Connecticut. Connecticut began performing same-sex marriages and issuing marriage
certificate to same-sex couples as of November 12, 2008. Connecticut marriage applications
and certificates contain three designations in referring to the parties to a marriage: bride/groom/spouse.
Finally, we note that a same-sex marriage, like an opposite-sex marriage, is dissolved
in Connecticut by a court decree of dissolution or annulment of the marriage, and
a marriage dissolution decree may also be used as proof of a name change.