On December 20, 1999, "in recognition of our common humanity," The Vermont Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling in Baker v. State that Vermont same-sex couples were constitutionally entitled "to the same benefits and protections as married opposite sex couples."On April 26, 2000, the Vermont legislature responded to the Court's ruling, by voting to create Civil Unions, granting same-sex couples all of the rights and responsibilities of the marriage statutes. Effective July 1, 2000, this controversial Civil Union legislation granted legal recognition to same-sex couples for the first time anywhere in United States.(Continued on other side)Over the next nine years, from 2000 to 2009, 1,600 Vermont same-sex couples, and more than 7,000 couples from 48 states and dozens of foreign countries travelled to Vermont to be legally joined in Civil Unions.On April 7, 2009, Vermont became the first state to enact same-sex marriage through a vote of the legislature rather than through a court ruling. In voting to override the governor's veto, the legislature made Vermont the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage.On September 1, 2009, Vermont achieved full marriage equality for all Vermont couples.