A Statement from NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter

(San Francisco, CA, April 7, 2009)—The Vermont legislature today overrode a veto by the governor and passed a bill to eliminate the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage, thereby making Vermont the first state to do so prior to a court decision requiring full marriage equality.

A statement from Shannon Minter, Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights:

“We are thrilled that the Vermont Legislature has taken decisive action to end discrimination against same- sex couples in marriage. Following on the heels of a unanimous decision by the Iowa Supreme Court in the Iowa marriage case last week, today’s news from Vermont is yet another indication that Proposition 8 is out of step with our nation’s movement toward equality. If the California Supreme Court upholds Proposition 8, California will be an outlier in the ongoing history of equality that is now exemplified by Vermont, Connecticut, Iowa, and Massachusetts, as well as many nations around the world. Fortunately, the California Constitution protects against the stripping of equal rights from minority groups. We are hopeful that the California Supreme Court will enforce that constitutional limit and hold that Proposition 8 is invalid, as the California Legislature, the Governor, hundreds of civil rights groups, bar associations, religious leaders and organizations, women’s organizations, and leading constitutional scholars have urged to the Court to do.”

The California Supreme Court is expected to rule on the validity of Proposition 8, which altered the California Constitution to eliminate the right to marry for same-sex couples, by June 3, 2009. For more information about NCLR’s Proposition 8 legal challenge, visit www.nclrights.org.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.