10 years later: CT couples who helped pave way for same-sex marriage


Monday marked a milestone for the state of Connecticut

It has been 10 years since same-sex marriage became legal. Connecticut was second in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage, after Massachusetts

Mike Lawlor and his now-husband, David Zakur, stood hand-in-hand at the Governor’s residence five years ago and exchanged vows, not knowing years before if the day would ever come. 

“I get emotional about it,” Lawlor told News 8. “There was a long time when people like me thought this would never be possible.” 

Mike and David’s son is growing up in a world with a mother and two fathers. 

“I ask him constantly, ‘what do the kids say in school that you have two dads?'” David Zakur said. “‘Is this an issue?’ When you talk to his friends at school, nobody bats an eye anymore, which is really an amazing thing.” 

Mike Lawlor, a former state representative and chair of the judiciary committee, introduced legislation that would eventually pave the way for same-sex couples to have full marriage rights. 

“I think we really did set the pace for the country in many different ways,” Lawlor said. “Every step of the way here in Connecticut was bipartisan, Democrats and Republicans, all these laws were signed by a Republican governor.” 

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Barb and Robin Levine-Ritterman were the first gay couple in Connecticut to get a marriage license. 

“It was a very, very wonderful time,” Robin Levine-Ritterman said. “We really didn’t know how things were going to turn out.”

Barb and Robin fought a years-long legal battle with the state for the right to marry along with seven other gay couples. The history-making moment when they got their marriage license is captured in the New York Times, which hangs on their living room wall. 

“Having marriage, being able to refer to Robin as my wife is everything,” Barb Levine-Ritterman said.  

“Just to have the world understand we are a family like all other families,” Robin added. 

Both couples say they appreciate the progress from the past ten years and look forward to what the next decade holds for civil rights. 

“People are people, some are straight, some gay, some trans, some bisexual,” Zakur added. “People are people, accept them for who they are.”

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