Toby Talbot of Earthlink wrote an article on 2005-JAN-08 that looked back on
the impacts that civil unions had had in Vermont since they became availableon 2000-JUL-01. 1 Some observations:
There was initially a serious division among Vermonters on the topic
of civil unions. Many who were opposed posted "Take Back Vermont"
signs. Some of those in favor used "Vermont: Keep it Civil"
stickers. However, most Vermonters now accept civil unions as a new part of
The Democrats, who were strong supporters of civil unions, "have
returned to their place of political dominance in the Statehouse."
There are now five openly gay men in the state's General Assembly.
This is an increase from one when civil unions first became available.
Exit polls in the 2004-FALL elections showed that:
36% of voters prefer that same-sex couples should be able to
enter into civil unions only.
40% would support full marriage rights for same-sex couples.
21% said there should be no legal recognition of same-sex
relationships; loving committed same-sex couples should be treated as roommates,
and their children, if any, as illegitimate
3% were undecided or did not respond.
Marty Rouse, campaign director of Mass Equality -- a group working
to preserve same-sex marriage in Massachusetts (and since 2009 across all of the
New England states) said:
with civil unions but how quickly civil union has become the moderate,
conservative position. We're now talking full equality and marriage is
full equality. Hopefully, one day, Vermont will get to full equality."
Rev. Craig Bensen, a pastor and lobbyist who actively opposed civil
"I anticipate that if there were an attempt to do
Massachusetts-style marriage that the public would be heavily favored to
maintain the status quo."
He was unsuccessful in running for the
state Senate as a Republican.
Steve Kimbell, a lawyer and lobbyist who actively promoted civil
"I think there's still a small slice of the population
who, for their own personal, religious reasons, can't abide anything to
do with gay and lesbian people. [However,] for a growing majority, the
fact that life has gone on as usual means it's OK. More and more people
are understanding who gay and lesbian people are around them. You can't
be mean to people you know. These are people in the fabric of everyday