Recognition of same-sex relationships in Vermont:
Under an order from the state Supreme Court, the Vermont Senate gave final approval to a bill to create civil unions in Vermont on 2000-APR-19. The House voted on APR-25 to accept the Senate version. The governor signed the bill into law on APR-26.
Same-sex couples, composed of gays, lesbians and/or bisexuals, were able to obtain their civil union certificates starting on 2000-JUL-01. Justices of the peace and clergy are under no obligation to conduct civil union ceremonies; a few refused to do so.
Vermont was the second U.S. state to legally recognize same-sex couples as more than roommates. California was first. Same-sex couples who obtain a civil union in Vermont are given the same rights, privileges, obligations and responsibilities as Vermont has always given to married couples. However, they are still denied the approximately 1,050 federal "rights, benefits and privileges" that are routinely given to married couples.
In 2007-AUG, a Commission started to study the possibility of allowing loving, committed same-sex couples to marry.
By 2009-MAR, a bill legalizing SSM was passed unanimously through the Senate
Judiciary Committee. It passed in the House and Senate, but was vetoed by the
Governor. The House and Senate overrode the governor's veto, and authorized SSM
in the state.
No rights were taken away from opposite-sex married couples in the implementation of this legislation, except the right to be the exclusive type of couple who can be validly married. However, that was sufficient to fuel strong opposition to marriage equality, particularly among religious and social conservatives.
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