The decision to provide for civil unions and not same-sex marriage was challenged in state court. On October 10, 2008, the Supreme Court of Connecticut, in Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health, ruled that failing to give same-sex couples the full rights, responsibilities and name of marriage violated the equal protection clause of the state constitution, and ordered same-sex marriage legalized.
The Supreme Court of Connecticut heard an appeal by the plaintiffs in Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health on May 14, 2007. On October 10, 2008, the court released an opinion guaranteeing same-sex marriage rights. The Court ruled 4-3 that denying same-sex couples the right to marry violated the equality and liberty rules in the Connecticut Constitution.
On November 12, 2008, the first marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples in Connecticut. At the time, it made Connecticut the third state to recognize same-sex marriage.