1999 December 20

Vermont Supreme Court Affirms Rights of Same-Sex Couples

 

In the case of Baker v. Vermont, decided on this day, the Vermont Supreme Court unanimously held that same-sex couples were entitled to the same rights as heterosexuals. On April 26, 2000, the Vermont legislature followed up with a civil union law. Same-sex marriage became legal in Vermont on April 7, 2009, when the state legislature overrode the governor’s veto.

The political and legal climate regarding same-sex marriages changed dramatically in the 2000s, as an increasing number of states legalized same-sex marriages and federal courts began declaring unconstitutional state prohibitions on such marriages.

The Supreme Court declared a major provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional on June 26, 2013 in the case of Windsor v. United States, ruling that the federal government had to recognize legal same sex marriages. In the year following the Windsor decision, a number of federal courts declared state prohibitions of same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional, and another major Supreme Court case on this issue seemed inevitable.

On June 26, 2015, in Obergefell v. Hudson, the Supreme Court declared that same-sex marriage was constitutional in the entire United States under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Read the decision: http://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/legal-docs/baker_vt_19991220_decision-vt-supreme-court

Learn more about the freedom to marry: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/

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