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Vermont House Passes Same-Sex Health Coverage Bill

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The Vermont House has voted to require out-of-state companies that offer health coverage to the spouses of opposite-sex married couples to provide the same benefits to same-sex couples.

Activists say the measure would go a long way toward extending the rights of gay and lesbian couples in Vermont.

Vermont Public Radio reports Democratic Representative William Lippert of Hinesburg pointed out Friday that the vote would coincide with the 13th anniversary of the House's first vote advancing the civil unions bill. Vermont legalized gay marriage in 2009.

The bill passed 139-to-5 after less than 15 minutes of debate. But some legislators ask whether the state could defend such a measure if challenged under the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

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