The justices began their questioning of Rosenberg by asking about the harms caused by marriage inequality. How, asked Justice Palmer, does the difference between civil union and marriage not stigmatize those relagated to civil unions? Appellate Judge Harper asked about how the denial of a marriage licence does not count as a constitutional harm.
Rosenberg maintained that, although she respects the plaintiff couples' feelings that they are stigmatized by not having access to marriage, those feelings do not go to the legal question at hand, i.e., whether the Legislature is required to use the word "marriage." She continued to say that there is nothing in the civil union law that is intended as derogatory for same-sex couples, and in fact civil unions indicate a step forward.
Justice Palmer asked if this "step forward" is the reason the defendants claim the plaintiffs can't satisfy the "political powerlessness" component of a suspect class argument. Justice Norcott interjected that, "if gay and lesbian folks in Connecticut had true political power, they'd have passed the bill across the street (in the legislative building), and we wouldn't be here."