Ps are three same-sex couples who have lived together in committed relationships for periods ranging from 4-25 years.
Two couples have raised children together.
Each couple applied for a marriage license and was denied as ineligible.
The brought suit, calling the constitutionality of the same-sex ban into question.
Trial court denied P's claim, ban constitutional.
Supreme Court of VT reversed, ban unconstitutional.
May Vermont treat opposite-sex and same-sex couples differently for purposes of marriage?
Vermont may not treat opposite-sex and same-sex couples differently for purposes of marriage.
Test to be applied…
Who is being discriminated against? Who is being excluded?
Does the government have a substantial purpose or reason to draw such classification that includes some and excludes others?
If so, does the law in question bear a reasonable and just relation to the government's purpose? Factors to consider…
The significance of the benefits and protections of the challenged law
Whether the omission of members of the community from the benefits and protections of the challenged law promotes the government's stated goals
Whether the classification is significantly under-inclusive or over-inclusive
The statute here excludes same-sex couples who wish to marry.
The governmental purpose to be served is in furthering the link between procreation and child rearing.
Allowing same-sex unions would diminish society's perception of the link between procreation and child rearing.
Would advance the notion that fathers or mothers are mere surplusage to the functions of procreation and child rearing.
While these are valid interests, these interests are not being furthered by the law in quesiton.
Opposite-sex couples marry and do/can not have children.
The Vermont legislature has acted affirmatively to remove legal barriers so that same-sex couples may legally adopt and rear the children conceived through in-vitro and other such methods.
Thus, the marital exclusion treats persons who are similarly situated for purposes of the law, differently.
There is no rational basis to conclude that a same-sex couple's use of technology to have children would undermine the bonds of parenthood or society's perception of it.
Additionally, the means (law) are not reasonably related to achieving the government's purpose.
The right to marry confers tons of rights on a couple.
These rights are of such significance that statutory exclusion must necessarily be grounded on public concerns of sufficient weight that the justice of deprivation cannot seriously be questioned. That is not the case here.
History cannot be invoked to block same-sex marriage; recent legislation has given same-sex couples more and more rights.
Not really a dissent, wants to go farther…
This law is unconstitutional not only under Vermont law but also under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
This is a straightforward case of sex discrimination.