Vermont Couple Hopes to Challenge Same-Sex Marriage Law

Lois Farnham and Holly Puterbaugh have been together for over twenty-five years. Still, they have never been able to share the many benefits of marriage because they are lesbians, and the state of Vermont prohibits same-sex couples from marrying.

In 1975, the state’s Attorney General, William Sorrell, defined civil marriage as the joining of a “bride and a groom.” Although this does not specifically deny same-sex marriages, it implies that such a union would not be acceptable.

Farham, Puterbaugh, and other gay and lesbian couples in Vermont will bring the issue to court in the hopes of securing the right of same-sex couples to marry under the law.

Those who support the Attorney General claim that bride and groom represent a male and a female while others claim that same-sex marriages are in fact protected by Vermont’s constitution as “bride and groom” do not necessarily mean man and woman.

The issue of same-sex marriages has risen in other states such as Hawaii and Alaska and the awareness and desire to change existing law provokes other gay and lesbian couples around the nation. Although Vermont officials hope to contain this issue to the state, the outcome will affect all gay and lesbian couples.


AP - November 18, 1998

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