Category Archives: Connecticut General Assembly

Rep. Beth Bye bares her soul for gay marriage

We all recognize that a decade ago, the notion that Connecticut, or anyplace, would vote to recognize gay marriages would have seemed impossible. And now we’re on the verge of doing it. If nothing else, it shows how a committed group with a powerful cause can sway public opinion dramatically, and quickly.

One reason for the success of the effort is that stories like Beth Bye’s overwhelm the efforts of critics to stoke the fires of fear. I mean, let’s face it, she’s not a terrifying woman.

But her story helped convince the Judiciary Committee to vote 27-15 to send a gay marriage bill on to the floor of the legislature, where it will pass, if not this year, then soon.

Here’s how The New Haven Register described Bye’s moment in the spotlight this week:

“As tears rolled down her cheeks, Bye told members of the committee how her deeply religious father has come to accept and support her gay lifestyle and her partner.

“My father, a devout Catholic, … has moved on this issue because he loves his daughter.

“He thinks of me as married,” said Bye. “The broader world does not see me as married.” Her voice shaking, Bye explained how, on her partner’s pension documents, she has been listed as “Other” because she didn’t fit into any of the traditional legal categories.

“I don’t want to be ‘Other,’” insisted Bye, “I want to be married.”

Personally, I have no doubt the West Hartford Democrat is married already, in her own heart and in the eyes of God. That the state of Connecticut hasn’t seen fit to recognize it, too, is a shame.

But thanks to Bye and thousands of others who are speaking out every day, people are coming around. Fear is never, in the long run, going to trump love. Hope triumphs over doubt. And liberty can’t abide our keeping anyone down.

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Filed under Beth Bye, Connecticut General Assembly, gay marriage, News

Sen. Harris pushes for state EIC

Bravo to Sen. Jonathan Harris, who is co-chairman of the Human Services Committee, for pushing through committee the idea of instituting an earned income tax credit for the working poor in Connecticut.

Minutes of a recent committee session show that Harris told colleagues that the idea “makes sense.  It seems like a small amount of money, but it actually could make a big difference in the life of a family that is living penny to penny, minute to minute. It means a lot in a human scale.”

For someone making $20,000 a year, the minutes say, the maximum credit of $800 “is 5 percent of their income – a significant bump-up. Without creating another program, we are providing a way to put some money in someone’s pocket, to help the individual thrive,” Harris said.

Harris pegged the cost as between $50 and $55 million.

“This is an idea that has been proven to work on the federal level and the state level. It is a bipartisan idea, and I think we should move this to the Floor,” Harris said.

It passed the committee by a 13-6 vote. The minutes fail to reflect which lawmakers voted against the measure.

But Harris is right on the money that supplementing the income of the working poor is the best way to keep them working and giving them a chance to live the American Dream. We have way too many people struggling with crummy jobs, often part-time, that leave them with little money, little time and little hope.

Harris’ proposal, which few of them will ever know he pushed, is one way to make life better for people who deserve a break.

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Filed under Connecticut General Assembly, Jonathan Harris, News, Politics, Taxes, West Hartford economy