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Civil Union FAQs

A civil union is a legal relationship that provides same-sex couples in Vermont all the benefits, protections and responsibilities under law as are granted to spouses in a marriage. This information sheet was prepared to help you plan your Stowe Vermont Civil Union. If you have questions that are not answered, contact the Timberholm Inn toll free at 800-753-7603 or the Stowe Town Clerk at 802-253-6133.

Who can form a civil union? 
Both parties to a civil union must be of the same sex and therefore ineligible for marriage. Both parties must be at least 18 years of age, of sound mind, and not already in a marriage or another civil union. Vermont also does not allow a civil union between close relatives.

Do we need a license? 
Yes. Before your ceremony you will need to purchase a Vermont civil union license. It must be presented to the officiator before your civil union is performed. While your license may be purchased up to two months before your ceremony, it becomes void sixty days from date of issue if the proposed civil union is not solemnized.

Do we need blood tests? 

Where do we get a civil union license? 
If both partners are Vermont residents you may go to the town clerk in either of your towns of residence. If just one of you is a resident, you must go to the town clerk of the town where the Vermont resident currently resides.

What if we are not Vermont residents? 
Decide where in Vermont you wish to have your civil union take place (we hope it's Stowe!). Out-of-state residents must buy their license in the county where they plan to have the ceremony (Stowe is in Lamoille County). Any town clerk in that county can issue the license. The Stowe town clerk's office is located in the Ackley memorial building on Main Street in Stowe village - a short and easy drive from the Timberholm Inn.

How much does a Vermont license cost? 
A Vermont license costs $23.00 U.S plus $7.00 for a certified copy.

What information do we need to purchase a civil union license in Vermont? 
You must know your legal town of residence and your place of birth; you will also need to know your parents' names, including your mother's maiden name, and the states where your parents were born (a certified copy of your birth certificate can supply most of this information). Vermont law requires that at least one of you must sign in the presence of the town clerk, certifying that all facts are correct; however, most town clerks prefer to see both of you in person before issuing your license, as the law requires that they satisfy themselves that you are both free to form a civil union under Vermont laws. They may legally ask to see documented proof of your statements, (such as birth certificates, divorce decrees, etc)

What statistical information will I need to provide? 
You will need to provide information about your race, the highest grade you completed in school, the number of times you have been married and how your previous marriage(s) or civil union(s), if any, ended. This information is confidential and does not become part of the civil union certificate.

What if either of us has been married or in a civil union before? 
If you are a widow or widower, you are free to form a civil union. You will be asked the date that your spouse died. If you are divorced you may remarry after the date on which your previous marriage or civil union is dissolved.

Can a civil union license be issued through the postal mail? 

Can we form a civil union by proxy? 

Is there a waiting period? 

Where can we form a civil union? 
A Vermont license is valid only for a civil union performed in Vermont. If you are a Vermont resident or forming a civil union with a Vermont resident you may form a civil union anywhere in Vermont. If you are not a Vermont resident you must form a civil union in the county where your license is issued. We hope it's Stowe!

Who can certify our civil union? 
A judge, Supreme Court justice, assistant judge, justice of the peace, or an ordained or licensed member of the clergy residing in Vermont may perform your ceremony. The Timberholm Inn will be happy to assist you in finding a local, legal Officiant for your ceremony. A priest, rabbi or minister from another state may perform your ceremony if he or she first obtains a special authorization from a probate court in the district where the civil union takes place.

What do we do with the license? 
By law you must deliver the license to the person who will conduct your civil union ceremony before the civil union can be performed.

Do we need witnesses? 
Vermont law does not require witnesses. If you are planning a religious ceremony check with your church or synagogue to see if religious tenets require witnesses for your civil union.

What happens to the license after the ceremony? 
The person who performs the ceremony (officiate) will complete the sections concerning the date, place and officiate information and sign your license. It must then be returned to the town clerk's office where it was issued within ten (10) days so that your civil union may be officially registered. It is not a complete, legal document useful for passports, social security, etc. until it has been recorded in the town clerk's office where it was purchased.

How do we get a copy of our civil union certificate? 
There are two ways to obtain a copy of your civil union certificate:

  • When you purchase your license, you may arrange with the town to mail you a certified copy of your certificate as soon as it is recorded. The cost will be $30.

  • Two weeks or more after the ceremony you may request (in person or in writing) a copy from the town clerk's office where you purchased your license. 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, 108 cherry street P.O. Box 70, Burlington Vermont 05402. Either way the fee is $7.00 and you will receive a copy of the original certificate, embossed with the Town or State seal and signed and dated by the appropriate official. These certified copies are accepted for all legal purposes.




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