Vermont C Connelly mcgil firstname.lastname@example.org
They will bear the same penalties as married people do under Vermont Law. Several years ago, a large number of employers, including state & municipal governments, started offering their gay & lesbian employees insurance for domestic partnerships, so there's not much of a change there. At this time, the issue of heterosexual domestic partners came forth. However, since it's wasn't against the law for them to marry -- it was their choice -- it was decided that domestic partnership did not apply to heterosexual couples.
From what I understand, the main reason for the lawsuit that generated the law, was that homosexual couples had no right under the law to make medical decisions or be next of kin in medical situations for their partner. In addition, if they bought a house together and one partner dies, the remaining partner could not inherit without inheritance taxes.
As I said in an earlier posting, the whole thing is a civil rights issue and nothing else. As to the federal marriage penalty, I sure that if civil unions were recognized by the Federal government, the majority of the couples would be glad to pay it.
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