Effective September 1, 2009, 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).
The law may have little practical effect on employers in Vermont because the state's same-sex civil union law provides parties to a civil union with the same benefits and responsibilities available to a married couple under state law.
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. The recognition of same-sex marriage under state law does not extend to benefits and protections provided to opposite-sex married couples under federal statutes such as the Internal Revenue Code. Federal statutes are subject to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which recognizes only marriage between a man and a woman. Therefore, under a federal statute, any tax deductions or benefits that might be made available for an opposite-sex spouse are not available to a same-sex spouse.