Dear Democracy Now! Visitor: We are an independent, ad-free daily news program that serves millions of viewers and listeners each month. In this US election year, Democracy Now! is more important than ever. For 20 years, we’ve put a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power. We lift up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We do all of this with just a fraction of the budget and staff of a commercial news show. We do it without ads, corporate sponsorship or government funding. How is this possible? Only with your support. A generous funder will match your donation dollar for dollar if you donate right now. That means when you give $10, your donation will be worth $20. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you every day.

Your Donation: $

Vermont House Votes for Gay Marriages

March 17, 2000

Yesterday, the Vermont House moved toward approving historic legislation allowing gays to form "civil unions’’ that would carry many of the benefits–and burdens–of marriage. The bill takes Vermont to the very edge of recognizing gay marriage. It if passes, Vermont will have gone further than any other state in recognizing same-sex couples. The legislation has the support of Democratic Governor Howard Dean and is also expected to win Senate approval.

Gay couples who form civil unions would be entitled to some 300 state benefits or privileges available to married couples, in such areas as inheritance, property transfers, medical decisions, insurance and taxes. Such couples could file a joint state income tax return, for example.

The federal government still would not recognize such unions with regard to such things as immigration rights, Social Security and federal taxes. Congress and more than 30 states have passed laws denying recognition to same-sex "marriages" performed in other states. Nonetheless, some suggest those state laws might not apply to same-sex "civil unions" performed in Vermont.

The entire issue was forced on the Legislature because the state Supreme Court ruled in December that same-sex couples are being unconstitutionally denied the benefits of marriage. The high court left it up to the Legislature to decide whether to allow gay marriages or create some kind of domestic partnership.


  • David Goodman, author of ??Fault Lines: Journeys into the New South Africa (U. California Press, 1999).
  • Nina Beck, one of three couples in the suit Baker v. Vermont, which led to the court decision which paved the way for the recognition of gay and lesbian unions.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.