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Wednesday 08 April 2009

USA: Gay marriage bill passes in Vermont

Posted in: International Daily News
By Daily News Staff - 8th April 2009

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Vermont has become the fourth American state to make same-sex marriage legal, after the House voted 100-49 to override a veto from state Governor Jim Douglas.

The Republican governor vetoed the bill and sent it back to the legislature, but the Senate voted 23-5 to override his veto, reports It then moved to the House and passed.

Vermont has had Civil Unions since 2000, but they offered only some of the benefits available to straight married couples.

"The struggle for equal rights is never easy," said Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin. "I was proud to be President of the Senate nine years ago when Vermont led the country by creating civil unions.

"Today is another historic day for Vermont and I have never felt more proud as we become the first state in the country to enact marriage equality not as the result of a court order, but because it is the right thing to do."

Same-sex couple in Vermont will be able to marry from 1 September this year.

The state of Iowa approved same-sex marriages last week, joining Connecticut and Massachusetts where gay marriage is already legal.