Vermont okays gay marriage, a legal milestone

Law Professor Linda McClain, an authority on family law and policy, says Vermont’s legislature legalizing gay marriage marks an erosion of political resistance to same-sex unions – at least in that state.

“One objection to the Massachusetts high court’s approach of ruling that the constitutional remedy for excluding gay men and lesbians from marriage was that it was anti-democratic.  By contrast the Vermont high court let the legislature choose the remedy.

“Now, the Vermont legislative branch has enacted a law extending marriage to same-sex couples.  Whatever political resistance to doing so at the outset, when Baker v. State was decided, has eroded to the point where lawmakers, by a veto-proof majority, support opening up civil marriage itself.

“This development may also support the views of persons who said that civil unions (legal in Vermont since 2000) were a necessary step toward full marriage equality, allowing people to ‘get used to’ same-sex couples having a status like marriage, but not called marriage.”

Contact Linda McClain, 617-358-4635, lmcclain@bu.edu

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