The former Chief Justice of Vermont’s Supreme Court authored numerous opinions during his seven years of service, but Jeffrey Amestoy will always be best remembered for one:
Baker vs. the State of Vermont, the landmark decision that made Vermont the first state in the nation to legalize same sex civil unions.
Amestoy, currently a visiting scholar at Vermont Law School, wrote the majority opinion on Baker in 1999 and the following year Governor Howard Dean signed it into law. The law granted same sex couples in Vermont the same benefits and protections given to married couples, falling short of legalizing gay marriage itself.
Now with a special commission gathering public opinion around the state on whether Vermont should go further and approve same sex marriage, Amestoy recalls how that question was also raised 8 years ago:
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AP File Photo/Jeffrey Amestoy