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Vermont

Vt. House passes bill requiring equal heath coverage for married, gay couples

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

MONTPELIER, Vt. — The Vermont House of Representatives has voted to require out-of-state companies that offer health coverage to the spouses of opposite-sex married couples to provide the same benefits to same-sex couples.

Advocates say the measure would go a long way toward extending the rights of gay and lesbian couples in Vermont.

Progressive Party Rep. Chris Pearson of Burlington, who co-sponsored the legislation, said it’s an important step in an “ongoing process” of “peeling back the layers of discrimination.”

Democratic Rep. Lippert of Hinesburg pointed out Friday that the vote would coincide with the 13th anniversary of the House’s first vote advancing the civil unions bill, reported Vermont Public Radio.

Vermont legalized gay marriage in 2009.

The bill passed 139-to-5 after less than 15 minutes of debate. But some legislators ask though, whether the state could defend such a measure if challenged under the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

House Speaker Shap Smith said the bill includes the qualifying language that should make sure the state law does not interfere with federal law, and he thinks that language should take care of any challenges from companies that don’t want to comply with the new requirements.

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12 more reader comments:

  1. Vermont will look very good in the history books of the future. They changed before it was federally mandated.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 5:03am
  2. Equality for all

    Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 5:10am
  3. YES!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 5:23am
  4. About time! I pay $500 EXTRA every month for my partner’s health insurance. How does that make sense!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 5:28am
  5. All of this progress every where except where me and my family live makes me wanna move to a place like Vermont.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 5:32am
  6. Time to move to Vermont.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 5:46am
  7. Jennifer. Just wait till June, when the Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage nationwide.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 5:49am
  8. Very nice!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 5:53am
  9. …..and why shouldn’t we be able to take care of our families??? AWESOME!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 6:04am
  10. Wonderful. Not to be ungrateful, but isn’t it time Vermont (and all the states) make sure health insurers will cover transgender care?

    Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 6:54am
  11. isn’t it time we just had universal single payer health care

    Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 9:38am
  12. Great.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 1:05pm