Hastings Law Journal


This Note evaluates the inter-jurisdictional effect of the Vermont Civil Union statute. A same-sex couple who enters into a civil union in Vermont currently enjoys all of the Vermont state benefits typically conferred only on married couples. The Federal Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") removes the burden on states of having to afford full faith and credit to same-sex marriages. As such, this Note discusses whether the DOMA is applicable to the Vermont Civil Union in addition to same-sex "marriages." Furthermore, this Note discusses whether California, if not obliged federally under the DOMA to recognize the civil union, is nonetheless obliged by its own state policy to recognize the rights conferred to parties who have entered into a civil union in Vermont. California might be considered fertile ground for this kind of inquiry because it also has a legislated domestic partnership statute that affords same-sex couples in California many of the benefits that the Vermont civil union provides to Vermont's same-sex couples. This Note takes the position that in a case of first impression, a California court would have to recognize the rights conferred on a couple who went to Vermont to enter into a civil union.

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