Vermont is on the verge of becoming the first state to grant marriagelike status to gay and lesbian couples. Elsewhere in the country, however, opposition to same-sex marriage remains strong. Meanwhile, other gay-rights measures are gaining support despite continuing opposition from conservatives. Eleven states and some 124 municipalities have anti-discrimination legislation, and many school districts have allowed high school students to form “gay-straight alliance” clubs. On the military front, the Defense Department is promising a crackdown on anti-gay harassment but defending the “don't ask, don't tell” policy. The issues divide the major presidential candidates: Democrat Al Gore backs gay-rights measures while Republican George W. Bush is opposed.