Vermont gives equal rights to all gay couples
Wednesday 22 December 1999
In the ruling, handed down this week, the court said: "The state is constitutionally required to extend to same-sex couples the common benefits and protections that flow from marriage under Vermont law."
The north-east state of Vermont is regarded as one of the most liberal in the country. It is the first state to extend absolute equality under the law to homosexual couples, although California and Hawaii recognise "domestic partnerships" between gays that carry many legal rights.
A court in Hawaii has ruledthat a 1998 amendment to the state's constitution that excluded gay marriages also excluded recognition of absolute equal rights for gay couples.
This week's ruling in Vermont derived from a lawsuit filed two years ago by three homosexual couples who had been refused marriage licences by their town clerks. The couples claimed their inability to get married deprived them of more than 1,300 benefits.
While some commentators argued that the ruling removed the legal obstacles to gay marriage, at least in Vermont, others said it made approval for gay marriage unnecessary, because gay couples would now have the same legal protections as heterosexuals.
At least 30 states have specifically outlawed gay marriages and the US Congress has passed a law allowing states to disregard gay marriages which have been sanctioned by other states.
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
Missing Malaysia Airlines plane: Details emerge of two young Iranians using stolen passports in search for a better life
Three-quarters of Britons are saying it wrong - the top ten most common mispronunciations
Oscar Pistorius trial: Forensic analyst says athlete 'was not wearing prosthetic legs' when he smashed locked toilet door with a bat
Missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: ‘Alright, good night’ – last words from cockpit revealed amid growing confusion
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
- 1 Hells of residence: Inside Macedonia's horrifying student accommodation - where the walls are green and the food is black
- 2 First Kiss video: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
- 3 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 4 Rampaging elephant smashes up house but then 'saves crying baby trapped under debris'
- 5 Ian Wright breaks down in ITV documentary charting his rise to Arsenal and England striker
£20,000 to £25,000: IT Connections Ltd: Graduate C / C++ Developer / Electroni...
£25,000 to £35,000: IT Connections Ltd: C / C++ Software Engineer / Windows / ...
£50,000 to £60,000: IT Connections Ltd: C++ / Java / Senior Software Developer...
£23500 - £50000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education is...