Vermont Approves Same-Sex Civil Unions (Great Events: 1900-2001)
Article abstract: As a result of successful legal action brought against the state of Vermont by three gay and lesbian couples, the state granted to same-sex unions legal status involving the benefits, protections, and responsibilities of traditional husband-and-wife unions.
Homosexuality has always existed among a significant minority of persons. However, because of society’s disapproval, most gays and lesbians had been secretive about their sexual lives until the latter part of the twentieth century. Therefore, many people heard and saw little evidence of homosexuality and tended to regard it as strange and “unnatural” behavior.
In one important respect, however, homosexuals are just like those attracted to the opposite sex: They often form close attachments to one particular person. Among heterosexuals, that strong bond frequently takes the form of marriage, which is a union recognized and protected by law in the United States and in many other countries. In many faiths, marriage is celebrated by religious ceremonies, and the union is regarded as a sacred bond that is expected to last until death. However, until 2000, none of the fifty states had given legal recognition to homosexual partners. In Vermont, however, which takes pride in having been the first state to outlaw slavery, a series of events, starting in 1997, changed that situation.
A Stormy Process...
(The entire section is 937 words.)
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