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A relationship similar to marriage created to placate members of the same sex who are prohibited by state law from marriage. The Supreme Court of Vermont ruled that denying gay couples the benefits of marriage was unconstitutional discrimination. Baker v. State, 744 A.2d 864 (Vt. 1999).

(Vt Stat Ann, tit 15, § 1201 [2]). Civil union affords 'all the same benefits, protections and responsibilities under law, whether they derive from statute, administrative or court rule, policy, common law or any other source of civil law, as are granted to spouses in a marriage' (Vt Stat Ann, tit 15 § 1204 [a]). A party to a civil union is included in the definition of the term spouse, family, immediate family, dependent, next of kin and 'other terms that denote the spousal relationship, as those terms are used throughout the law.' (Vt Stat Ann, tit 15, § 1204 [b].) Parties to a civil union are responsible for support 'to the same degree and in the same manner as prescribed under the law for married persons' (Vt Stat Ann, tit 15, § 1204 [c]). Annulment, separation, divorce, child custody and support, property division and maintenance apply to parties to a ...

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