First U.S. Civil Union Ends in Separation, Restraining Order

As the United Kingdom opened its doors to same-sex civil unions on Monday, the first lesbian couple to enter into such a state-sanctioned partnership in the United States said they plan to split over allegations of violent behavior.

"All I want to say is that the civil union was a big source of pride for me, and now it's not," said Kathleen Peterson, whose civil partnership with Carolyn Conrad was at the center of media attention years ago.

According to the Associated Press, Conrad, 35, asked a court in October to end her relationship with Peterson, 46. Conrad also obtained a restraining order last Wednesday against her partner, whom she says punched a whole in the wall during an argument and threatened to harm a friend.

The couple was the first to benefit from Vermont’s civil-union law that took effect on July 1, 2000. Sharing a highly-publicized relationship, they were giving advice to other gay couples on a gay-rights web site just two years ago.