LGBT rights in Vermont

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LGBT rights in Vermont
Vermont (US)
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1977
(Legislative repeal)
Gender identity/expression Vermont issues amended birth certificates to post-operative transsexuals.
Discrimination protections Yes, on both sexual orientation and gender identity
Family rights
Recognition of
Same-sex marriage since 2009
Adoption Yes

The establishment of LGBT rights in the U.S. state of Vermont is a recent occurrence, with the majority of advances in LGBT rights taking place in the past century. It is one of 36 U.S. states, along with the District of Columbia, that issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Laws against homosexuality[edit]

All sodomy laws were repealed at the state level in April 1977.[1][2]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Vermont since September 1, 2009.[3] It was the first state in which same-sex marriage became legal through the action of the legislature and governor rather than as a result of a court decision.[4]

Vermont had previously introduced civil unions in July 2000, the first state to do so.[5]

Vermont has provided benefits to same-sex partners of state employees since 1994.[6]


Vermont law permits single LGBT individual and same-sex couples to petition to adopt.[7]

In June 1993, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled in favor of a lesbian who sought to adopt her partner's 2 biological sons.[8]

Discrimination protection[edit]

Vermont law bans discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, public accommodations, education, housing, credit, insurance and union practices.[9]

Hate crime laws[edit]

When Vermont enacted hate crimes legislation in 1990, one of the first states to do so, the Hate Crimes Act included sexual orientation. Most of the testimony and statistics that supported its passage related to the gay and lesbian community and one incident of anti-gay violence helped secure its passage.[10] The state added gender identity in 1999.[11]

Gender reassignment[edit]

Vermont permits both preoperative and post-operative transsexuals to change the sex on their birth certificates and other state-issued documents. To do so on the basis of preoperative gender reassignment, it requires a letter from a licensed practitioner of medicine or mental health professional and a letter from the applicant. As of 2013, all health insurers that underwrite policies in Vermont are required to cover transgender care, including genital reconstructive surgery.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ William N. Eskridge, Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003 (NY: Penguin Group, 2008), 201n, available online, accessed October 10, 2010
  2. ^ Vermont Sodomy Law
  3. ^ Vermont Public Radio: "Same-sex couple ties the knot at midnight," September 1, 2009, accessed May 9, 2011
  4. ^ "D.C. vote puts gay marriage before Congress". Boston Globe. April 9, 2009. Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
  5. ^ Higgins, Richard (July 2, 2000). "Vermont Licenses First Civil Unions". Boston Globe. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  6. ^ National Conference of State Legislatures: "States offering benefits for same-sex partners of state employees", accessed April 16, 2011
  7. ^ Vermont Adoption Law
  8. ^ "Lesbian Wins Appeal on Vermont Adoption". New York Times. June 20, 1993. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  9. ^ Vermont Non-Discrimination Law
  10. ^ Mary Bernsten, "The Contradictions of Gay Ethnicity: Forging Identity in Vermont," in David S. Meyer, et al., eds, Social Movements: Identity, Culture, and the State (Oxford University Press, 2002), 96-7, available online, accessed July 12, 2013
  11. ^ Wallace Swan, ed., Handbook of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Administration and Policy (Taylor & Francis, 2005), 131, available online, accessed July 12, 2013
  12. ^ Vermont Birth Certificate Law: Gender Identity Issues