The Vermont Act to Protect Religious Freedom and Promote Equality in Civil Marriage provides legal recognition of same-sex marriage in Vermont (VT Stat. Sec. Tit. 15 Sec. 8). All state statutes, administrative or court rules, policies, common law, or any other source of civil law must be interpreted consistently with the Act's definition of civil marriage (i.e., a legally recognized union between two people).
Exception. The Act does not require a charitable organization that is operated, supervised, or controlled by a religious organization to provide insurance benefits to any person if doing so would violate the organization's free exercise of religion, as guaranteed under the state or federal constitution.
Effect of federal law. Note: The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down as unconstitutional Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage as only between a man and a woman (United States v. Windsor, No. 12-307 (June 26, 2013)). The ruling requires equal treatment under federal law of spouses in legally recognized same-sex and opposite-sex marriages. Therefore, employee benefits regulated by federal law such as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and federal income tax law must provide equally for those in same-sex and opposite-sex marriages. Before the decision, the recognition of same-sex marriage under state law did not extend to benefits and protections provided to opposite-sex married couples under federal statutes such as the Internal Revenue Code.