Quantcast
Monday, May 30, 2016



The Process  |   General Marriage FAQ  |   Same-Sex Marriage FAQ


Vermont is the ideal place to have your Wedding. The picturesque setting and superb accommodations make it a joy for all who attend.

Today is a very special day because it is the first day of a significant stage in your life. It's no small event and you'll want to be among beautiful and striking surroundings. The Vermont landscape fashions a wonderful backdrop for this occasion with vibrant colors and magnificent natural features that are both romantic and heartwarming.

Too many ceremonies are hurried and the newlyweds are often unable to spend ample time with their friends and family. The attendees are a very crucial part of the experience. They are there to give love and support and bear witness to the joining of two souls. One thing that makes many regions in Vermont so popular for these occasions is the ability of Vermont's scenery to provide a soothing and harmonious ambiance. The result of this is a joyous yet calm emotion and ultimately a completely fulfilling ceremony that allows you to take in the moment and spend time appreciating your loved ones.

Enjoy your big day to its fullest,
and congratulations from everyone at Vermont.com!

Accommodations and Services:
Weddings & Conferences in Vermont


The Process of Getting Married in Vermont

  1. An eligible couple must submit an application for a license in the Vermont town/city where one of the parties lives (out-of-state couples can go to any town/city clerk). The couple must pay the applicable fee and will receive a marriage license from the clerk.
     
  2. The couple must have the marriage solemnized (i.e., have a ceremony) within 60 days of filing the application.
     
  3. Once the ceremony has been performed, the person who performed it has 10 days to send the license back to the city/town where it was issued.
     
  4. The city/town clerk will then file the original and the couple can receive an official certificate of their marriage.

General Marriage FAQ


Distinction Between Civil Marriage and Religious Marriage

Whether different-sex or same-sex couples, Vermont law creates a state licensing system for civil marriage, and civil marriage only. Every religion can continue to define marriage as it chooses for its own religious purposes.

Back to the Top


Who can get married in Vermont?

Two people who are each at least 18 years old can get married in Vermont. If you are at least 16, but under 18, you will need the consent of a parent or guardian. Your parent or guardian should go with you to the town clerk's office to sign an affidavit giving you permission to marry. (The affidavit is on the back of the marriage license and is a legal part of the license.) By Vermont law, no one under the age of 16 may marry in Vermont.

Back to the Top


Do we have to be a Vermont resident?

No. Any couple from anywhere in the world, same-sex or different-sex, can marry in Vermont, if otherwise qualified. Non-U.S. residents should check with the clerk in the city or town where they intend to marry to find out what identification documents are needed. Non-resident couples can go to any town or city in Vermont to apply for a marriage license.

Back to the Top


Are there any other marriage restrictions?

Anyone under guardianship cannot marry without the guardian's written consent. Vermont also does not allow marriage between most close relatives. You cannot marry a parent, grandparent, sister, brother, child, grandchild, niece, nephew, aunt or uncle. You cannot marry if either of you is currently married to someone else, or if either of you is joined in a civil union to someone else. The law requires that both parties be of sound mind.

Back to the Top


Do we need a license? Do we need blood tests?

You will need a license, but you do not need blood tests, and there is no waiting period.

Back to the Top


Where do we get a license and how much does it cost?

Licenses are issued by Vermont town clerks. If both parties are Vermont residents, you may go to the town clerk in either of your towns of residence. If just one of you resides in a Vermont town, you must buy the license in that town. The license costs $45, and is valid for 60 days from the date it is issued. During that time period, an authorized person must perform your wedding ceremony — otherwise, the license is void. If you want a certified copy of your marriage license, there is an additional fee of $10.

Back to the Top


What information must we provide to get a marriage license?

Besides basic information about yourselves (names, towns of residence, places and dates of birth), you must also provide your parents' names, including your mothers' birth (maiden) names, and their places of birth. (Certified copies of your birth certificates can supply most of this information).

Vermont law requires that at least one of you sign the license in the presence of the townvclerk, certifying that all the information you provided is correct. However,vmost town clerks prefer to see both of you in person before issuing your license. The law requires that town clerks satisfy themselves that you are both free to marry under Vermont laws. Therefore, they may legally ask to see documented proof of your statements (birth certificates, divorce/dissolution decrees, death certificates, etc.). You will also be asked to provide the number of previous marriages & civil unions, and how & when they ended. This information is confidential and does not become part of the marriage certificate.

Back to the Top


What if either of us has been married or in a civil union before?

If your husband, wife or civil union partner has died, you are free to marry. The clerk will ask the date your spouse or civil union partner died. If you are divorced, you may remarry after the date on which your previous marriage or civil union was legally dissolved. If you are partners in an existing civil union, you are free to marry one another.

Back to the Top


Can a license be issued through the mail? Can we be married by proxy?

No. A marriage license cannot be issued through the mail, and you cannot be married by proxy.

Back to the Top


Where can we get married?

With a valid Vermont license, you can be married anywhere in Vermont, but only in Vermont.

Back to the Top


Who can marry us or solemnize our marriage? Do we need witnesses?

A Vermont judge, Vermont Justice of the Peace (JP), or a member of the Vermont clergy, or a clergy person from another state who has been granted permission by a Vermont probate judge may solemnize a marriage. JPs in Vermont are not required to perform marriages, however, if they do perform marriages, then they cannot discriminate against same-sex couples.

Marriages among the Friends or Quakers, the Christadelphian Ecclesia and the Baha'i Faith may be solemnized in the manner used in such societies. Clergy or religious societies permitted to solemnize marriages are, however, not required to solemnize any marriage and so may refuse to solemnize the marriage of a same-sex couple.

In addition, any person who is over the age of 18 may register with the Secretary of State to become a temporary officiant to a marriage. A person who has filled out the registration form and who has paid the registration fee of $100 will receive a certificate authorizing the person to solemnize a specific Vermont marriage. The individual's authority to solemnize that marriage will expire at the same time as the corresponding license. For more information on registering to be a temporary officiant, call 802-828-2363.

Vermont law does not require witnesses, but if you are planning a religious ceremony, check to see if the religion's tenets require witnesses.

Back to the Top


What do we do with the license? What happens to it after the ceremony?

By law, you must deliver the license to the person who will conduct your wedding ceremony before the marriage can be performed. After the ceremony, the person who performs the ceremony (officiant) will complete the sections concerning the date, place and officiant information, and sign your license. At that point, the license becomes a marriage certificate.

The officiant must return the certificate to the town clerk’s office where it was issued within 10 days after the wedding, so that your marriage can be officially registered. If the officiant has registered with the Secretary of State as a temporary officiant, a copy of the certificate of authority issued by the Secretary of State should be attached to the signed license and returned to the clerk’s office. The certificate is not a complete legal document until it has been recorded in the town clerk's office where it was purchased.

Back to the Top


How do we get a copy of our marriage certificate?

At the time you buy your marriage license, you can arrange with the town clerk to mail you a certified copy of your certificate as soon as your marriage has been recorded. The cost is $10 for the certified copy in addition to the $45 for the license purchase.

Or, two weeks or more after the ceremony, you can request, in person or in writing, additional copies from the town clerk's office where you bought your license for the same $10 fee.

Or, six or more weeks after your ceremony, you may request, in person or in writing, a certified copy from the Vermont Department of Health, Vital Records Unit for $10.

In either case, you will receive a copy of the original certificate, embossed with the town or state seal, signed and dated by the appropriate official. This copy is accepted for all legal purposes as proof of a valid marriage.

Back to the Top


How do I change my surname?

The marriage license application form allows you to change your surname. A certified copy of your marriage certificate will allow you to change your surname with the Social Security Administration and the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles and on your passport.

Back to the Top


How do I get out of a Marriage or Civil Union in Vermont?

Although there is no residency requirement to enter a Vermont marriage or civil union, there are residency requirements for obtaining a dissolution of a marriage or civil union in Vermont. The same divorce law applies for both marriages and civil unions.

One of the spouses must live in Vermont continuously for at least six months before filing an action for dissolution, and continuously for one year before the dissolution can be granted.

In 2012 Vermont passed a law that waives the residency requirement for dissolving a marriage or civil union provided: The marriage or civil union was established in Vermont; Neither party's state of legal residence recognizes the couple's Vermont civil union or marriage for purposes of dissolution; There are no minor children who were born or adopted during the marriage; The couple files a stipulation that they have reached agreement on all the terms and conditions of the divorce. If these conditions are met, the couple can file a complaint for dissolution in the Superior Court in the county where the marriage or civil union certificate was filed.

Back to the Top


Same-Sex Marriage FAQ

As of June 26, 2015, every state and the federal government must allow same-sex couples to marry and must respect the marriages of same-sex couples, regardless of where the couple married. Below are a few specific Q&A pertaining to same-sex marriages (previously known as "Civil Unions") in Vermont.


Will Couples Still Be Permitted to Establish Civil Unions?

No. When the “Marriage Act” took effect on September 1, 2009, same-sex couples would have access to Civil Marriage laws, but were no longer able to establish a Civil Union in Vermont.

Back to the Top


What Happens to Existing Civil Unions?

Civil Unions established before September 1, 2009 will continue to be recognized in Vermont.

Back to the Top


Can I Marry My Civil Union Partner?

Yes. Couples with existing Civil Unions will be permitted to marry one another. The Civil Marriage does not dissolve the Civil Union.

Back to the Top


Must a Church Allow a Same-Sex Couple to Use Church Property for a Wedding Reception?

No. Religious organizations and their related nonprofit organizations are not required to provide services or facilities to any person if the purpose is related to the solemnization or celebration of a marriage. A church may selectively provide such services to some individuals, while denying them to others, and the refusal shall not give rise to any civil claim or cause of action.

Back to the Top


Are Clergy Required to Solemnize a Same-Sex Marriage?

No. Clergy are authorized to solemnize marriages, but are not required to solemnize any particular marriage, and a clergyperson who refuses to solemnize a marriage is provided immunity from civil lawsuit under the statutes. A clergyperson may choose to regularly solemnize marriages but refuse to solemnize same-sex marriages.

Back to the Top


If we have a civil union from another state, can we get married in Vermont?

Two parties to a civil union from Vermont, or another state, can now also be joined marriage; they do not need to dissolve the earlier civil union in order to marry. The key is that the parties to the civil union and the marriage must be the same. A party to an existing civil union who wishes to now marry a different party must first obtain a dissolution of the civil union.

Back to the Top


What If My Partner and I Have a Civil Union and a Civil Marriage and We Split?

Because the parties, issues, and process for the dissolution/divorce would be the same, dissolution of the Civil Union and divorce from the Marriage could be sought at the same time and the family court could issue one order as to both. Vermont's courts have already had some experience with this issue regarding Vermont Civil Union couples who were married in either Massachusetts or Canada. Upon petition, the court granted both the dissolution and the divorce.

Back to the Top


Do Religious Organizations that Reflect Disapproval of Same-Sex Marriage in their Employment Policies Risk Lawsuits Under the State Employment Anti-Discrimination Law?

No. Vermont's Fair Employment Practices Act provides an exemption to religious organizations with respect to sexual orientation. Religious organizations are permitted to give preference to persons of the same religion or denomination and "may take action with respect to matters of employment which is calculated by the organization to promote the religious principles for which it is established or maintained."

Back to the Top


Do Religious Organizations that Refuse to Extend Housing Benefits to Same-Sex Married Couples on Terms Identical to Those Offered to Married Women and Men Risk Lawsuits Under the State Fair Housing Law?

No. Vermont's Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act provides that a religious organization may limit "the sale, rental or occupancy of dwellings which it owns or operates for other than a commercial purpose to persons of the same religion" and may give "preference to such persons, unless membership in that religion is restricted on the basis of race, color or national origin. The religious restriction or preference must be stated in written policies and procedures of the religious organization, association or society."

Back to the Top


How Does the Act Affect Fraternal Benefit Societies?

The amendment specifically states that the Civil Marriage laws are not to be construed to affect the ability of a society to determine the admission of its members or to determine the scope of beneficiaries and shall not require a society "that has been established and is operating for charitable and educational purposes and which is operated, supervised, or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization to provide insurance benefits to any person if to do so would violate the society's free exercise of religion, as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States or by Chapter I, Article 3 of the Constitution of the State of Vermont."

Back to the Top


Non-Discrimination Rule in Places of Public Accommodation

Current Vermont law protects citizens from discrimination in places of public accommodation. (i.e. “any school, restaurant, store, establishment or other facility at which services, facilities, goods, privileges, advantages, benefits or accommodations are offered to the general public.”)

People are protected from discrimination in public accommodations on account of a number of bases, including a person’s sexual orientation and marital status. Therefore, the law’s protection extends to couples who are entering into a civil union or a marriage or are married or in a civil union.

Exception to the Rule: “a religious organization, association, or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised, or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association, or society, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges to an individual, if the request for such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges is related to the solemnization of a marriage or celebration of a marriage.”

Back to the Top


Same-Sex Marriage Equality Timeline:

July 1, 2000: Civil Unions were established by the legislature in response to the Vermont Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in December 1999, that same-sex couples are constitutionally entitled to all of the protections and benefits provided through state law to different-sex married couples.

April 7, 2009: Vermont became the first state to obtain marriage rights for same-sex couples through a legislative process rather than a court case. The "Marriage Act" took effect on September 1, 2009.

June 26, 2013: The United States Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is Unconstitutional.

June 26, 2015: the United States Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that it was unconstitutional to prevent same-sex couples from marrying, and so now every state must allow same-sex couples to marry and must respect the marriages of same-sex couples, regardless of where the couple married.


Information was obtained from the Vital Records Office of the Vermont Dept of Health, and GLAD Legal Advocates & Defenders for the LGBTQ Community.

If you have questions that are not answered on this page, contact the Vital Records Office at 802-863-7275, or your Town Clerk. Please mention you found their information on VERMONT.COM.

The purpose of this page is to provide general information only. For legal advice and guidance on your particular situation, please contact a lawyer.


Vermont.com Recommends