Commission hears impassioned pleas for freedom to marry

Times Argus
November 20, 2007
Joseph Gainza of Marshfield talked about how straight Vermonters, including him, noticed that the sky did not fall down after the Vermont Legislature legalized civil unions for same-sex couples seven years ago. "The change came and you realized that nothing in your life has changed," said Gainza. "The only difference is that your neighbors have some rights they didn't have. And none of your own rights were taken away in the process." [link]

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Panel on marriage opens hearings to overwhelming support for the freedom to marry

Rutland Herald
October 11, 2007
More than 75 people were in the auditorium at Johnson State College and a vast majority of them were in support of extending marriage to gay and lesbian couples. Only two people spoke out against marriage equality. Many speakers gave emotional testimony about falling in love with their partners for the first time and the emotional agony they experience because their unions — which Vermont legalized in 2000 — are not recognized by the federal government, most other states and many institutions and businesses. [link]

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NJ’s civil union law is a fiasco

Blue Jersey
September 26, 2007
At tonight's first public hearing of the New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission, Garden State Equality presents a mountain of new evidence showing the failure of New Jersey's civil union law to provide equality as real marriage would. 30 civil-unioned couples from across New Jersey will present a joint letter to state leaders. An expert from Vermont will testify that civil unions in Vermont still don't work like marriage, seven years after Vermont enacted a civil unions law. [link]

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Marriage equality good for business in New England

The Washington Post
September 16, 2007
Since the freedom to marry came to Massachusetts in 2004, attendance at Boston's annual Gay Pride Day, a major attraction for visitors, has more than doubled, according to the Massachusetts tourism bureau. Last June, attendance exceeded 100,000, compared with 40,000 three years ago. Although Vermont tourism officials don't tally visitors according to sexual orientation, several innkeepers report a strong rise in their gay clientele since civil unions were legalized in 2000. [Link]

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OPINION: Social justice tied up in gay rights

Rutland Herald
August 12, 2007
The defining civil rights struggle of this generation involves gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans who live in cities and towns throughout the country, engage in all walks of life, worship in a range of churches, and form families, both with and without children, that are central to our identity and purpose. Once again, questions about the assumptions and regulations surrounding our marriage laws are back on the table. It makes sense. Marriage is a central institution in our society; we know from history that you can't ignore the government's regulation of marriage if you're serious about advancing legal fairness and social justice. [link]

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Why marriage is important

Rutland Herald
August 7, 2007
This September my civil union partner and I will celebrate 32 years of our long-term commitment. It would be so much easier to proclaim that we are a married couple, and more understandable, especially to those who live outside of Vermont and the United States. Try traveling to a state that does not recognize civil unions, which is 47 states in the United States. If you think civil unions are good enough, ask a gay friend or family member. [link]

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Gay couples learn that civil union isn’t the same as marriage

Concord Monitor
May 6, 2007
In the seven years since Vermont became the first state to create civil unions, couples have uncovered countless ways in which their unions differ from non-gay marriage. Because the federal government doesn't acknowledge civil unions, same-sex couples miss out on the federal benefits afforded non-gay married couples. And because many states have conflicting laws, a couple's rights can evaporate when they cross the state line. [link]

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Divorcing gay couples create new legal issues

San Francisco Gate
September 25, 2006
Gay and lesbian couples in the United States cannot marry anywhere except MA, but many states that legally recognize same-sex couples now send them to divorce court if they break up. The legal questions are new because there was never such disconnect between states and the federal marriage laws until VT instituted civil unions in 2000, and only 113 of those unions have been dissolved. [link]

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