Marriage Equality USA

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Lawsuits - Resolved

Baker v. Vermont

Case #: 744 A.2d 864
Date Filed: 22 July 1997
Ruling Date: 20 December 1999


  • 22 July 1997, three same-sex couples sued the state and the jurisdictions that had denied them marriage licenses. They lost in the trial court on December 19.
  • 19 December 1997, the trial court ruled against them. That court ruled that Vermont's statutes limiting marriage to different-sex couples were constitutional because they served the public interest by promoting "the link between procreation and child rearing".
  • The case was appealed to the Vermont Supreme Court.
  • 20 December 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that the Vermont Constitution entitles same-sex couples to "the same benefits and protections afforded by Vermont law to married opposite-sex couples". However, instead of ordering state officials to allow same-sex couples to marry, the court invited the state legislature to devise a solution. The Court set no deadline, but suspended its judgment for "a reasonable period."