Vermont Legislature Legalizes Gay Marriage

State House and Senate override governor's veto to become fourth state to allow same-sex marriage.

On Tuesday (April 7), Vermont's legislature made state the fourth in the country to legalize same-sex marriage. The victory for gay-rights advocates came fast on the heels of Friday's ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court rejecting the state's gay-marriage ban.

After the legislature passed a bill in March allowing same-sex marriage, Vermont Governor Jim Douglas vetoed it on Monday, saying he supported the state's existing law allowing civil unions. But Tuesday morning, the State Senate voted 23-5 to override the veto, and the House voted 100-49, according to The Associated Press.

Vermont is the first state to legalize gay marriage with a legislative vote. Court rulings established same-sex marriage in Massachusetts (in 2004), Connecticut (in 2008) and now Iowa. On April 24, three weeks after Friday's ruling, same-sex couples will be able to get married in Iowa, even if they are not residents in the state.

Gay couples in California, meanwhile, are still waiting for their state's Supreme Court to decide whether to overturn the ban on gay marriage that passed (as [url id=""]Proposition 8[/url]) last November. Last May, the court had ruled to allow same-sex marriage, and the 18,000 couples who married between May and November remain in legal limbo. Many experts expect the ban to be upheld.

According to the New York Times, legislatures in New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Maine are close to passing bills to allow gay marriage. New Jersey and New Hampshire currently allow for civil unions between same-sex couples.