- Associated Press - Thursday, December 31, 2015

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force, which in 2009 pushed for and won passage of the country’s first same-sex marriage law not forced by a court, said Thursday that its work is done and it’s disbanding.

The task force was formed in 1996 by Beth Robinson, now a Vermont Supreme Court justice, and Susan Murray, with hopes of achieving civil marriage equality in Vermont.

Gay marriage in Vermont came nine years after the state’s first-in-the-nation civil unions law was created after a same-sex couple challenged the inequality of the state marriage statute.

“Even after Vermont achieved in-state marriage equality in 2009, we felt it was important to keep standing for the principle that equality shouldn’t depend on where you live,” said Sheryl Rapee, chairwoman of the task force.

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that same-sex couples can get married anywhere in the country, the group says its mission is complete.

“Vermont’s leadership role in the marriage-equality movement provides a hopeful example of what can be accomplished when people join together with determination and perseverance to gain civil rights,” the organization said in a press release.

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