Every. Vermonter seems to know about two recent decisions of the Vermont Supreme Court. In the first, the court struck down the system of local financing of public schools. Like similar decisions in many other states, the school financing case led to a struggle in the legislature and difficulties for legislators at election time. In the second and even more controversial decision, the court reached an outcome that no other state supreme court had ever reached: it held unconstitutional the state's marriage law on the ground that it inappropriately denied the legal benefits of marriage to same-sex couples. This decision, Baker v. State, also led to a legislative resolution that infuriated many voters. In his concurrence, Justice John Dooley of the Vermont Supreme Court described Baker as "the most closely watched opinion in this Court's history." The five articles and essays in this symposium concern Baker and the civil union legislation that the Vermont Legislature adopted in response to it. My goal, in this short introduction, is to whet your appetite for the reading that awaits you. I also speculate on the answer to a question that is more difficult than it appears: Why did the legislators and the governor who displayed such positive attitudes toward gay people and gay relationships refuse to call the new legal relationship that they created "marriage"?
Chambers, David L. "The Baker [Baker v. State, 744 A.2d 864 (Vt. 1999)] Case, Civil Unions, and the Recognition of our Common Humanity: An Introduction and a Speculation." Vt. L. Rev. 25, no. 1 (2000): 5-13.