Vermont Begins Hearings on Same-Sex Marriage Bill
March 16, 2009 - 12:24 PMVermont lawmakers are starting a week of hearings on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.
In 2000, Vermont became the first state in the U.S. to adopt civil unions. House and Senate leaders want to pass the gay marriage bill this legislative session, which ends in May.
Supporters say gay marriage would give couples additional rights, such as for insurance purposes and in health care decisions. It also would allow surviving spouses to obtain Social Security benefits.
On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear testimony about equality issues, other states' experiences and the conclusions of a study on the matter. More hearings are scheduled for later in the week.
In the U.S., gay couples can legally marry only in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
(Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)