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Gay Marriage Laws in Vermont


In Vermont, gay marriage is currently legal. In fact, Vermont was the first state to legally recognize civil unions and they did so without a court ruling in 2000. In Vermont, gay marriages and civil unions are both afforded the same rights as marriage. In 1999, the state Supreme Court ruled that the right to marry, was an entitlement offered to all individuals, regardless of gender.

The courts ruled that prohibiting a legal recognition of same sex relationships, was a violation of the states constitution which ensures equal rights. In Vermont, marriage is a union of two people and marriage is not defined by gender. However, civil unions performed in Vermont, may not be recognized outside of the state unless, the other state has similar laws regarding civil unions. In addition, same sex Vermont marriages may only be recognized in other states that have legalized gay marriage.

In Vermont, gay marriages and civil unions are offered all of the same rights generally reserved for marriage. In fact, Vermont allows its residents to dissolve civil unions in the same way that a divorce legally ends a marriage. For instance, couples are legally able to distribute assets and property after a relationship ends. In addition, individuals can collect alimony or separation payments. However, couples must be residents of Vermont in order to have their divorce legally recognized by the state. For instance, a couple cannot marry in Vermont, move to Kansas for ten years and then get divorced in Vermont.

Marriages must legally end in a state that has jurisdiction over the union. In other words, a couple that has moved to another state, may have no legal recourse regarding their divorce, unless their state of residency, recognizes the marriage. In addition, the law also states that no individual should marry in Vermont and purposely move to state where gay marriage is illegal. If in fact, a couple tries to knowingly take advantage of Vermont's marriage laws, the marriage is considered void.

In Vermont, gay marriage laws were prohibitive and it took great efforts to change them. In fact, the governor vetoed the original bill that would have legalize gay marriage. However, the veto was overturned by the legislature. It did however, take two years from the bills introduction, for gay marriages to be legally permitted in Vermont. Gay marriages are legally recognized as of, September 2009. In Vermont, marriage is a union of two people, regardless of gender.

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