States of Marriage

Saturday, March 20, 2010 9pm

Producer: Vermont Public Radio
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Same-sex marriage is one of the more controversial issues of our time. States Of Marriage: The Debate Over Gay Rights provides meaning and context not only to Vermont’s history with this issue, but tells the national story as well.

Ten years ago in December, the Vermont Supreme Court changed the landscape of legal rights for same-sex couples when it handed down its ruling in the case Baker v. State of Vermont. The three same-sex couples who were the Baker plaintiffs had argued that they deserve the rights of marriage, just as heterosexual couples do.

In the decade since, the country has debated the deeply personal and very public questions of what marriage means and how to legally recognize gay and lesbian couples, and how ideas of family and civil rights are challenged by these questions.

States of Marriage examines how several states have approached legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples. We examine the divisive civil unions precedent in Vermont and how it set the stage for a marriage law in Massachusetts. Advocates on both sides of the issue explain their political and legal strategies to convince voters and courts of their cause, and we see the results of that debate in California, Iowa and Maine.

Local News

SB 68 Goes Before Full Senate

A bill that opponents say discriminates against same-sex couples is now before the full Kentucky State Senate.

SB 68 prohibits unmarried couples who live together from adopting children or becoming foster parents.

The bill’s sponsors say it’s designed to protect children, but Executive Director of Adoption Bridges of Kentucky Linda Davis disagrees with that argument.

“It just does not help children in any way,” she says. “Not to mention that from many people’s perspective it merely spreads hate and bigotry.”

Davis says the bill will most likely cause a decline in adoptions. Other opponents of the bill say it discriminates based on sexual orientation, as it would block same-sex couples from adopting.

The bill unanimously cleared its Senate Committee Thursday and now goes before the full body. It must clear the House as well before going to Governor Beshear. Beshear has not said whether he will veto the legislation.