Gay marriage takes effect Sept. 1 in Vermont
 

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posted Friday, September 04, 2009 - Volume 37 Issue 36

Gay marriage takes effect Sept. 1 in Vermont
by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

Vermont's Gay marriage law took effect at exactly midnight on September 1. Vermont became the fourth state to allow Gay marriages on April 7, when the state House and state Senate voted 100-49 and 23-5, respectively, to override a veto by Gov. Jim Douglas.

Same-sex couples and Gay advocates marked the day with celebrations, wedding receptions, and fundraisers.

Equality Vermont, the organization who led the fight for same-sex marriage in the state, told members, "September 1 should also be a day to celebrate the LGBT community and our supporters who helped accomplish marriage equality."

Four months ago, Gov. Douglas said he would oppose any bill granting Gay marriage, saying, "Vermont's civil union law has extended the same rights, responsibilities and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples. I believe our civil unions law serves Vermont well, and I would support congressional action to extend benefits at the federal level to states that recognize same-sex unions. But like President Obama and other leaders on both sides of the aisle, I believe that marriage should remain between a man and a woman."

Vermont is the state credited for creating the term "civil union."

The battle for marriage equality in Vermont caught public interest particularly because it became the first state to legalize same-sex marriages without a court order. Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa allowed Gay marriages only after bitter and costly court battles.

Currently, a total of six states allow same-sex marriages, four of which adopted their status in the past five months. The District of Columbia now recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries.

Other battles for marriage equality, civil unions, and domestic partnership continue across the nation.

Massachusetts, the first state to legalize same-sex marriages, sued the federal government in July over the constitutionality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In California, there is a push to repeal the ban on same-sex marriages through a referendum on next year's ballot after the California Supreme Court ruled that Proposition 8 was not unconstitutional.

In Washington State, Referendum 71 has been certified to appear on the November 3 ballot to ask voters to "approve" or "disapprove" recent Washington state legislative action granting the same rights and responsibilities of marriage to registered same-sex domestic partners.

What many Gay advocates consider the main battleground in the marriage equality fight is Maine, where a coalition of far right organizations seek to take away the right for Gays and Lesbians to marry.



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