On July 1, 2000, Vermont became the first state in the country to legally recognize civil unions for same-sex couples. The ruling came after a state supreme court decision in 1999, which ruled that denying same-sex couples the benefits of marriage was unconstitutional discrimination. The civil union law intends to grant many of the same state benefits, civil rights and protections to same-sex couples as to married couples. In 2005, Connecticut became the second state to legalize civil unions. New Jersey became the third in 2006.
Lambda Legal believes that civil unions are discriminatory and that they cause real harm to same-sex couples. They also keep all LGBT people relegated to second-class status by law. We have several fact sheets and publications that highlight our work and expertise as it relates to relationship law and civil unions.
Read more about our fight for relationship recognition and the part that civil unions play in the struggle.
- Civil Unions are Discriminatory Fact Sheet
- Open Letter From Kevin Cathcart on Lewis v. Harris
- Lewis v. Harris: Essay On a Settled Questions and an Open Question — Why Civil Unions are Unconstitutional
- Lambda Legal Testimony Before the State Legislature: Domestic partnerships failed, so will civil unions
- Lambda Legal Testimony Before the Civil Union Commission
- UPS: Tracking Civil Union Benefits