Despite discussions for over ten years, we still do not have any decisions on interstate or international recognition of marriages by same-sex couples. We do have, however, six cases in the United States on the interstate recognition and validation of Vermont civil unions. In these six cases, same-sex couples from six different states who had entered into Vermont civil unions came to their courts seeking resolution of legal issues that arose in their relationships. The rest of this article now turns to these six decisions and considers how each court dealt with the same-sex couple seeking legal assistance with the problems that had arisen for them. I review each case and consider whether each court could have recognized the civil union for the particular incident of marriage at issue in the case. I also consider whether using that analysis and prior precedent in each state should have led each court to recognize the civil union for, at least the limited purpose raised in the lawsuit.
Cox, Using an “Incidents of Marriage” Analysis When Considering Interstate Recognition of Same-Sex Couples’ Marriages, Civil Unions, and Domestic Partnerships, 13 WIDENER L.J. 699 (2004).