BURLINGTON, VT- The Pride Center of Vermont celebrated the 20th anniversary of civil unions at the BCA center in Burlington.
The Pride Center of Vermont works to support LQBTQ+ Vermonters by providing things like health and wellness programs, safespace anti-violence, and other programs for distinct populations.
Two decades ago the case Baker v Vermont made Vermont the first in the country to allow civil unions for same sex couples. The case would then lead the passing of civil unions for same sex couples throughout the state in 2000 and Vermont passing marriage equality in 2009.
Justin marsh is the communications and development director for the pride center of Vermont. He says tonight is a celebration for decades of fighting for what’s right.
“Progress is a long journey and it takes a lot of work it takes a lot of hard time and energy and eventually we can achieve a lot of great things and equality was eventually given to us which is amazing,” said Marsh.
The celebration is about those who made it all possible. “I grew up in a time where this was not acceptable and gay people were condemned for their actions so we are seeing so much in just 20 years,” said Marsh.
Executive director of the pride center Mike Bensel said the event will also celebrate the long journey.
“We really want to highlight and celebrate how difficult this process was. It took a tremendous amount of energy and years of service. These amazing folks and it was a long battle,” said Bensel.
At the 20th anniversary event, those who fought in the case for marriage equality including plaintiff standard baker and litigator Susan Murray as well as other state representatives spoke.