Vermont House approves same-sex marriage bill

[JURIST] The Vermont House of Representatives [official website] on Thursday passed a bill [S-115, PDF] approving same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. The bill, aimed at "promot[ing] legal equality in the civil marriage laws and ... protect[ing] the religious freedom of clergy and religious societies authorized to solemnize civil marriages," was approved by a margin of 95-52 [roll call vote], which falls short of the two-thirds majority needed to override an expected veto [JURIST report] from Governor Jim Douglas (R) [official website]. According to Vermont Freedom to Marry [advocacy website], the approval followed a five hour debate [text] in front of numerous supporters. The bill must be voted on again [AP report] by the House for final approval, but is expected to pass.

The Vermont State Senate approved the bill [JURIST report] last week by a vote of 26-4. If the proposed legislation passes, Vermont would join Massachusetts [JURIST news archive] and Connecticut [JURIST report] in extending marriage rights to same-sex couples. Previously, Vermont became the first state to offer civil unions to same-sex couples when then-Governor Howard Dean signed H.B.847 [text] into law in April 2000.

4:50 PM ET: The Vermont House has given final approval to the bill in 94-52 roll call vote.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.