Same-sex marriage in Vermont
|Legal recognition of
|†Note: Not yet in effect|
Same-sex marriage in Vermont began on September 1, 2009. Vermont was the first state to introduce civil unions in July 2000, and the first state to introduce same-sex marriage by enacting a statute without being required to do so by a court decision.
Civil union 
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 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 Governor Howard Dean signed on April 26, 2000. The debate on civil unions was acrimonious and deeply polarizing, touching every corner of the state and spurring a prominent popular backlash under the slogan Take Back Vermont.
When the civil unions law went into effect on July 1, 2000, Vermont became the third U.S. state after Hawaii and 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.
On February 9, 2007, bill H275 was introduced to allow marriage for same sex couples 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. A bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry was introduced February 6, 2009.
On March 20, 2009, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously recommended implementation of same-sex marriage, and the measure passed the State Senate on March 23, on a 26–4 vote. Governor Jim Douglas publicly announced his intention to veto the bill on March 25.
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. On April 3, the House passed the bill 95–52, 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, who vetoed it.
On April 7, 2009, the veto was overridden by the Senate 23–5, and by the House 100–49, the first time since 1990 that a Vermont governor's veto was overridden. The law went into effect on September 1, 2009.
Economic impact 
A comprehensive UCLA March 2009 study concluded 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.
Public opinion 
A July 2011 Public Policy Polling survey found that 58% of Vermont voters thought same-sex marriage should be legal, while only 33% thought it should be illegal and 9% were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 79% of Vermont voters supported the legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 55% supporting same-sex marriage, 24% supporting civil unions but not marriage, 18% favoring no legal recognition and 3% not sure.
See also 
- Goodnough, Abby (April 7, 2009). "Vermont Legislature Makes Same-Sex Marriage Legal". The New York Times. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- The Vermont Supreme Court decision
- House Committee activity
- State House and Senate action; Scope of the law; Getting a civil union
- "H.0275". Vermont General Assembly. February 9, 2009. Retrieved April 5, 2009.
- Gram, Dave (April 21, 2008). "Vt. commission stops short of recommending gay marriage". Associated Press (The Boston Globe). Retrieved February 7, 2009.
- Porter, Louis (February 6, 2009). "Vt. House to introduce same-sex marriage bill". Rutland Herald. Retrieved February 7, 2009.
- Sneyd, Ross (March 20, 2009). "Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously recommends authorizing same-sex marriage". Vermont Public Radio. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
- Vermont Senate Passes Gay Marriage Bill
- Cavner, Brian. "Vermont Governor Pledges to Veto Marriage Bill". Retrieved March 25, 2009.
- "S. 115". Vermont General Assembly. April 3, 2009. Retrieved April 5, 2009.
- "VT Governor Vetoes Gay Marriage Bill". Fox News 44. April 13, 2009. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
- Gram, Dave (April 7, 2009). "Vermont Legalizes Gay Marriage, Overrides Governor's Veto". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
- "Governor Vetoes Same-Sex Marriage Bill". Local Vermont News. Retrieved April 6, 2009.
- Vermont Public Radio: Same-sex couple ties the knot at midnight, September 1, 2009, accessed October 29, 2012
- Lester, Paul (September 1, 2009). "Gay couples tie the knot in Vermont: New law takes effect as Vermont becomes the latest state to allow same-sex marriage". The Guardian (London).
- Economic Impact of Extending Marriage to Same Sex Couples in Vermont
- Public Policy Polling: "Vermont supports gay marriage, single-payer health care" August 5, 2011, accessed August 9, 2011
Further reading 
- David Moats, Civil Wars: A Battle for Gay Marriage (Mariner Books, 2005), ISBN: 978-0156030038