As the gay pride flag flew at the Governor’s Residence, one of the governor’s top aides and his husband left their Fair Haven home for a historic gay rights landmark to celebrate the news coming out of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mike Lawlor and David Eric Zakur, celebrated the news by visiting the historic Stonewall Inn in New York, the site of the Stonewall Riots that 44 years ago marked the birth of the gay rights movement. Wednesday marked another milestone: a Supreme Court decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, which means the federal government will now recognized marriages between same-sex couples like Lawlor and Zakur.
Lawlor and Zakur, who live in Fair Haven, paid a visit to the historic spot on a “mini-honeymoon.” The two got married on Saturday. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy attended the wedding; state Supreme Court Justice Andrew McDonald officiated.
Lawlor is Malloy’s point-person on criminal justice and a former state representative. Zakur is a neighborhood activist and scientist at Pfizer. As legislators, Lawlor and McDonald led the fight to legalize gay marriage; the law ended up taking effect through the state Supreme Court instead.
Lawlor said he and Zakur knew the decision was coming and decided to go to the Stonewall Inn in advance. When the decision came out around 10:10 a.m., “everyone came running out of the Stonewall Inn and came out into the street,” “hooping and hollering,” Lawlor said.
He said the ruling will “make life a lot less complicated” for the couple regarding Social Security benefits, taxes, and all other interactions the federal government.
Perhaps more important, he said, the ruling marks a huge symbolic coup in the quest for equal rights.
“This was not a debate about marriage. It was a debate about homosexuality,” he said. “This has happened because public opinion has changed so much.”
Lawlor, an attorney, also predicted a powerful domino effect for the 37 states that ban gay marriage.
Now “anyone can come to Connecticut and get married,” then “go back to Mississippi” with a marriage that’s federally recognized.
“Every state has to recognize legal contracts entered into in another state.” Gay marriage opponents in other states “know they’ve been defeated,” he said.