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Civil Unions & Same-sex marriage in Vermont

Impact of civil unions

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Looking back after almost five years:

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:

bullet 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 their culture.
bullet The Democrats, who were strong supporters of civil unions, "have returned to their place of political dominance in the Statehouse."
bullet 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.
bullet Exit polls in the 2004-FALL elections showed that:
bullet 36% of voters prefer that same-sex couples should be able to enter into civil unions only.
bullet 40% would support full marriage rights for same-sex couples.
bullet 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 under law.
bullet 3% were undecided or did not respond.
bullet 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:

"Vermont led 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."

bullet Rev. Craig Bensen, a pastor and lobbyist who actively opposed civil unions, said:

"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.

bullet Steve Kimbell, a lawyer and lobbyist who actively promoted civil unions said:

"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 life." 1

More information:

bullet has a page of links to information sources about civil unions in Vermont. See:
bullet One essay deals with dissolving a civil union. See:
bullet has a web site designed for the traveler to Vermont. See:

Site navigation:

Home>Religious info.>Basic>Marriage>Same-sex marriage>SSM>VT>here

Home>"Hot" topics>Homosexuality>Same-sex marriage>SSM>VT>here

Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > SSM > VT > here


The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Toby Talbot, "Civil Unions become part of Vt. fabric," Earthlink, 2005-JAN-08, at: This article is no longer online.

Copyright 2005 to 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Last updated: 2009-MAR-21

Author: B.A. Robinson

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