The Artises, represented by GLAD, are litigating for marriage equality in Kerrigan & Mock v. Connecticut Dept. of Public Health
Geraldine Artis (left), 37, and Suzanne Artis (right), 36, of Clinton, Connecticut have been together for 12 years. The couple has three children: 9-year-old Geras and 7-year-old twins, Zanagee and Gezani.
Suzanne changed her last name to "Artis" to reflect their mutual commitment and the familial nature of their relationship. Each of the children’s names is drawn from the letters of their parents’ first names.
Suzanne teaches in the public school system and Geraldine works the late shift as a recreational therapist. They juggle their work schedules in order to provide a secure, loving environment for their children.
"Marrying will complete the dream of our family," says Geraldine, "a family we are building based on love, responsibility, honesty and respect."
Because they have taught their children not to accept society’s prejudices, Suzanne and Geraldine feel that they must challenge Connecticut’s marriage discrimination. Furthermore, Suzanne and Geraldine believe their family would have more protection if they could marry. Despite their current civil union, they still encounter situations wherein people don't understand or recognize the nature of their relationship.
For example, marriage would have likely prevented the discriminatory treatment they’ve received in the past when seeking medical care for Geraldine, in one instance, and emergency care for one of their children in another. In both cases, the legal documents they obtained through their civil union did not protect them as a family and were not recognized by the medical attendees. They know from this type of painful first-hand experience that those documents can never provide the full protections and benefits that flow from marriage.
"Every family needs safety," says Suzanne. "Shouldn’t all committed families have equal rights?"