National

Sep 1, 2009 11:39 AM by Associated Press

Same-sex unions begin in Vermont

Some couples had been waiting so long for gay marriage to become legal they held midnight ceremonies, but officials in Vermont say there hasn't been a rush of applications for licenses.

A new state law went into effect today allowing same-sex marriage. That makes the Green Mountain state the fifth to do so, along with Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Iowa.

City and town officials in Vermont say they've issued only a handful of licenses in anticipation of the day. One of those went to Bill Slimback and Bob Sullivan. They were married a minute after midnight Eastern time at a rustic lodge in
Duxbury.

Vermont was the first state to create civil unions in 2000 after a same-sex couple challenged the inequality of state marriage statutes.

But for Slimback and Sullivan that wasn't enough. After 17 years together, they say a civil union would have been a second-class recognition.

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