Gay Benefits

February 22, 2000

Homosexual marriages are still not the law of the land. But if recent actions in Vermont play themselves out, homosexual marriage may eventually be a reality. A Vermont House committee voted the other day to provide homosexual couples with the same rights and benefits as heterosexual couples. The Judiciary Committee voted to draft legislation that would extend legal rights to gay domestic partnerships. A few of the committee members went even further and wanted to legalize homosexual marriages. If the bill is enacted, Vermont would provide more rights and benefits to gay couples than any other state.

No state so far has legalized homosexual marriages. The first attempt came in 1993 when Hawaii's Supreme Court raised the possibility of same-sex unions. That began the long legislative process of passing defense of marriage laws. Congress and 30 states have passed some version of the Defense of Marriage Act. These preemptive laws say they won't recognize homosexual marriages if they are legalized in other states. Hawaii has since barred gay marriage, thus ending the battle in that state.

However, the Vermont Supreme Court in the case of Baker v. Vermont instructed the legislature to grant benefits under the ruling to homosexual couples. The recent action in the Vermont House is in response to those instructions.

There is a bill in the Vermont House bill that does define marriage as between a man and a woman. So there is a showdown set between a defense of marriage act and a domestic partnership bill. Which side wins will no doubt have an impact on the rest of the nation. And it is reasonable to assume that all of this will eventually make its way to the Supreme Court. Pray for wisdom for the legislators in Vermont.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.