BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Spanish Portuguese Caribbean
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: World: Americas  
News Front Page
World
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent
-------------
Letter From America
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 26 April, 2000, 00:30 GMT 01:30 UK
Vermont's gays win parity
Vermont has become the first US state to approve a law giving gay and lesbian couples the same benefits as married couples.

The ground-breaking legislation was passed by 79 votes to 68 in the state's House of Representatives, despite impassioned attacks by opponents of the change.

The legislation will now go before Vermont's governor, Howard Dean, who has promised to sign it into law.

The first civil union ceremonies are expected to take place after 1 July.

'Rights denied'

This week's vote follows a ruling by the Vermont Supreme Court last December that gay couples were being unfairly denied the rights of marriage.
The move will ensure legal parity

Under the bill, same-sex partners will be allowed to apply for a licence similar to a marriage certificate, giving them the same benefits as married couples on matters such as life insurance, health care and child custody.

Couples wishing to separate would have to go to court.

Move welcomed

Thomas Little, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said: "The continued denial of these legal protections, benefits and responsibilities to a small but vulnerable class of Vermont's citizens diminishes their humanity, dignity, freedom and independence."

Gay rights activists have welcomed the legislation, saying it sets an example to the rest of the United States.

Opponents complain that the law goes too far.

Californian voters backed a pre-emptive move last month to ban official recognition of gay marriages.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Tom Carver
"The federal laws in America do not give equal rights".
See also:

22 Dec 99 | Americas
01 Feb 99 | Europe
21 Jan 99 | Americas
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes