Friday, March 20, 2009

Another inch forward in Vermont

Vermont Senate panel approves gay marriage bill

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A state Senate committee unanimously approved a gay marriage bill on Friday, moving Vermont one step closer to allowing same-sex couples to legally wed.

"It provides ... gay and lesbian couples the same rights that I have as a married heterosexual," said Sen. John Campbell, vice chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and chief sponsor of the bill.

The measure would replace Vermont's first-in-the-nation civil unions law with one that allows marriage of same-sex partners beginning Sept. 1.

The committee's vote ended an intense week highlighted by a public hearing Wednesday night in which more than 500 people swarmed the Statehouse to speak for and against allowing same-sex marriages.

If approved, Vermont would join Massachusetts and Connecticut as the only U.S. states that allow gays and lesbians to marry.

Civil unions, which confer some rights similar to marriage, would still be recognized but no longer granted after Sept. 1. Both Houses, under Democratic control, are expected to pass the measure. The Senate is taking the lead and is expected to debate the bill next week. Gov. Jim Douglas, a Republican, has said he opposes the bill but has declined to say whether he will veto it if it reaches his desk.

Read the rest here ...


Caminante said...

One of the big talking points of the opposition is to bring this matter to a referendum at town meeting 2010. Senator Richard Sears (D), Bennington, thinks this is a very bad idea because it will bring in a lot of outside money on either side and because Vermont is small enough that we don't need that sort of referendum -- we just take over the state house! If you go to (Vermont Freedom to Marry) you can see videos of some of the testimonies.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Good news!

IT said...

Yes, the damage done by the outside money in CA is still palpable. I am having a really hard time dealing with my anger and hurt and frustration at what has happened here. You want to try to avoid this. We're going to have to go through it again in CA and it is going to be brutal.