Marriage Equality Comes to Vermont

Vermont has become the fourth state to legalize gay marriage — and the first to do so with a legislature’s vote. 

The Legislature voted Tuesday to override Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto of a bill allowing gays and lesbians to marry. The vote was 23-5 to override in the state Senate and 100-49 to override in the House. Under Vermont law, two-thirds of each chamber had to vote for override.

The vote came nine years after Vermont adopted its first-in-the-nation civil unions law. 

It’s now the fourth state to permit same-sex marriage. Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa are the others. Their approval of gay marriage came from the courts.

Tuesday morning’s legislative action came less than a day after Douglas issued a veto message saying the bill would not improve the lot of gay and lesbian couples because it still would not provide them rights under federal and other states’ laws.

Gov. Jim Douglas, who vetoed legislation, said, “I prepared myself for this outcome and predicted it. The outcome was not unexpected.”

via The Burlington Free Press: Vermont Legalizes Gay Marriage


Massachusetts,  Connecticut, Iowa last week, and now Vermont…

All eyes are now  on California. Coming up: New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, and Maine — and that’s just for starters.

This has been an amazing few days — it does wonders for the spirit to experience so much victory in such a short space of time. This is no time for complacency. The road ahead will hold many more obstacles and setbacks; after all, we’re fighting ignorance, fear, and hatred, seemingly insurmountable foes.

Still, think about where we’ve been and what we have accomplished. Consider the miracles we have seen:

  • Equality in Massachusetts came in 2004 after a long, bitter battle that involved the judiciary and the legislature and  wasn’t settled until 2007. (Fingers crossed; there always will be a crew fighting for repeal and, as we saw so tragically in California, some people are all too happy to take rights away from those they do not like.)
  • Connecticut, the second state to acknowledge civil marriage equality in the nation, did so via its judiciary in late 2008. Voters shortly thereafter rejected a constitutional convention to overturn the court ruling.
  • Iowa, still fresh in our memories, came around to equality via a unanimous decision by its Supreme Court. (Meanwhile, opponents scramble to try and get the decision reversed.)
  • And now, Vermont, after years of offering substandard civil union, has stepped out of the darkness to become the first state in the nation to move toward equality via legislative decision.

Breathing is difficult today.  For years, I have worked with many, many others on this issues through difficult times where any victory seemed impossible. When I started in journalism, we couldn’t even use the words “gay” and “lesbian” unless they were employed in a pejorative sense. Now, numerous major newspapers regularly list commitment ceremony announcements. In four states, GLBT citizens can wed the person of their choice just like other adults. Today, Washington, DC, announced it will recognize legal marriages performed in other states. Even the notorious Pastor Rick Warren, the great revisionist, now says stopping gay marriage is “very low” on his priority list.

Over time, the entire nation will see what people in Massachusetts and Vermont already know: The sky will not fall if civil marriage equality is acknowledged. Most of the couples will remain intact and be solid, contributing citizens. And eventually, perhaps not before my time is through, but eventually, equality will reign throughout the union.

Here is the real miracle: I believe it will happen. Really.


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