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Same-sex marriage in Vermont

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Same-sex marriage in the U.S. state of Vermont began on September 1, 2009.[1][2] Vermont was the first state to introduce civil unions in July 2000, and the first state to approve same-sex marriage legislatively (as opposed to judicially).[3]

History Edit

Civil unions Edit

On December 20, 1999 the Vermont Supreme Court ruled in Baker v. Vermont that same-sex couples are “entitled under Chapter I, Article 7, of the Vermont Constitution to obtain the same benefits and protections afforded by Vermont law to married opposite-sex couples”. The Court did not rule on whether Vermont was required to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but suggested that the legislature could enact a parallel licensing scheme affording the same substantial benefits as marriage to same-sex couples. After very contentious debate, the legislature followed the Court’s suggestion and passed H.B. 847, which was signed on April 26, 2000 by Governor Howard Dean.[4] The law went into effect on July 1, 2000. Vermont thus became the second U.S. state (after California) to offer legal status to same-sex couples, and the first to offer a civil union status encompassing the same legal rights and responsibilities of marriage.

Recognition outside of Vermont Edit

Civil unions are generally not recognized outside of the state of Vermont in the absence of specific legislation. The Defense of Marriage Act prevents obligatory recognition of same-sex unions in other jurisdictions. As far as voluntary recognition of civil unions in other jurisdictions is concerned, California’s domestic partnership laws recognize Vermont civil unions as of January 1, 2005. New York City's Domestic Partnership Law, passed in 2002, also recognizes civil unions formalized in other jurisdictions. Germany's international private law (Art. 17b EGBGB) also accords to Vermont civil unions the same benefits and responsibilities that apply in Vermont, as long as they do not exceed the standard accorded by German law to a German civil union. The United Kingdom fully recognizes civil unions contracted in Vermont. Schedule 20 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 provides for automatic recognition of specified overseas relationships to the same extent as British civil partnerships. Since legal recognition available in the United Kingdom under the Civil Partnership Act greatly exceeds the capabilities of Vermont state law, the rights and responsibilities attached are greatly enhanced.

Civil unions can be dissolved in Vermont family court in exactly the same manner as divorce of married couples. But while there is no residency requirement to contract a civil union, there is a six-month residency requirement to dissolve one. An attempt of a Connecticut resident for a formal dissolution of his Vermont civil union with a New York City resident was rejected by the court of appeals on the basis of lack of jurisdiction.

Marriage Edit

On February 9, 2007, bill H275 was introduced to allow marriage for same sex couples[5] and on July 25, 2007, Democratic House and Senate leaders in the state legislature announced the creation of a committee to study the issue of same-sex marriage. The committee reported in April 2008 but declined to make a recommendation.[6] A bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry was introduced February 6, 2009.[7]

On March 20, 2009 the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously recommended implementation of same-sex marriage,[8] and the measure passed the State Senate on March 23, on a 26–4 vote.[9] However, Governor Jim Douglas publicly announced his intention to veto the bill two days later on March 25.[10]

On April 1, 2009, the judiciary committee of the Vermont House of Representatives passed the bill 8–2 and sent the bill to the full House with several amendments.[11] On April 3, the House passed the bill 95–52,[11] five votes shy of a veto-proof majority.

On April 6, 2009, the Vermont Senate approved the amendments made by the House. The Senate then immediately presented the amended bill to the governor, after which he immediately vetoed the bill.[12]

On April 7, 2009, the veto was overridden by the Senate 23–5, and by the House 100–49, making it the first time since 1990 that a Vermont governor's veto was overridden.[13] The law went into effect on September 1, 2009.[14]

Economic impact Edit

A comprehensive UCLA study from March 2009 concludes that extending marriage to same-sex couples would boost Vermont's economy by over $30.6 million in business activity over three years, which would in turn generate increases in state and local government sales tax and fee revenues by $3.3 million and create approximately 700 new jobs.[15]

See also Edit

States with legal same-sex marriage Edit

References Edit


v  d  e  
Same-sex unions in the United States
Same-sex marriage recognized, but not performed:
Federal governmentMissouri
Same-sex marriage prohibited by statute:
Same-sex marriage prohibited by
constitutional amendment:
All types of same-sex unions prohibited by
constitutional amendment:
Recognition of same-sex unions undefined
by statute or constitutional amendment:


Notes:
* Marriages entered into before the relevant rulings were stayed are recognized for federal purposes.


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