TN 14 (04-13)

PR 02712.008 Connecticut

A. PR 13–049 Use of Connecticut Marriage Certificate from a Same-Sex Marriage as a Name Change Document

 DATE: February 26, 2013


Accept marriage documents issued to same-sex couples for marriages that took place on November 12, 2008 or later by jurisdictions (town, county or state) in Connecticut as evidence of a name change. 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.


Question Presented

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 certificate.

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 contin