Thursday, March 26, 2009

Vermont Governor Says He Will Veto Marriage Equality Bill

What is Vermont doing with a Republican governor, anyway?
There could be a major roadblock for the gay marriage bill in Montpelier. Gov. Jim Douglas said he will veto the bill if it makes it to his desk.

The governor told reporters he doesn't typically announce his intentions like this so far ahead of time, but said he thinks it's the only way to stop speculation about what his move may be, to refocus lawmakers' attention on the state budget.

"I'm announcing I will veto this legislation when it reaches my desk," Douglas said.

Explaining same-sex marriage is a deeply personal issue that crosses political lines, Vermont's Republican governor said he will not sign a bill into law allowing gays and lesbians to marry.

"I believe marriage has always been and ought to remain the union of a man and a woman," Douglas said. "I believe the civil unions law has offered equal rights and benefits under state law to same-sex couples and that should suffice."

"I see this as the civil rights movement of our generation. And I don't want to leave Governor Douglas behind," said Beth Robinson, of the Vt. Freedom to Marry Task Force.

Democratic leaders called the governor's announcement an insult to the political process.

"We haven't even passed the bill. We shouldn't even talk about whether we will override it yet," said Rep. Shap Smith, D-Vt. House Speaker. Douglas to Veto Gay Marriage Bill

You remember we talked about this a couple of days ago, the bill passed in the Vermont Senate by a 26-4 vote, which ought to be good enough to override a veto if it comes to that.
The move puts the pressure squarely on the House. It can override a governor's veto with a two-thirds majority. Speaker Smith says he works closely with Progressives and Republicans, but since gay marriage is such a personal decision, not all about political parties, he's not sure he has the votes. House Judiciary chairman Bill Lippert-- himself openly gay-- held back tears over his frustration.

"This touches the hearts of your neighbors and friends. It touches my heart. I am deeply disappointed the governor has interfered with this process at this time," said Lippert, D-Hinesburg. "But as the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, we will continue this work and we will move forward."

Governor Douglas said he thinks Democratic leaders would not have advanced the bill if they did not have enough votes to override a veto, but because the issue is so personal and divisive legislative leaders say there's no guarantee. But of course Douglas acknowledged he will have no choice but to accept same-sex marriages if the house can get the numbers.

The way it might go is ... the governor can prove his Republican allegiance by vetoing this bill, perpetuating the government's right to choose who someone can marry. Then the state legislature will vote again and bury his veto. The people of Vermont will be free to marry the person they love, and further they will have seen their governor for what he is. I do not expect his party to win again in the next gubernatorial election.

Like the story says, the pressure is on the House. Let's watch this one. I think the good guys might win in the long run up there.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The good guys will win in the end everywhere.

March 26, 2009 11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

they always have

that's why gay marriage lost in California

March 26, 2009 5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It won't lose again. The GOP is finally coming around, first Megan McCain and now

"Steve Schmidt, chief strategist for U.S. Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign, came out in favor of marriage rights for same-sex couples in an interview with the Blade last week while urging the Republican Party to be more inclusive of gays and lesbians.

“I’m personally supportive of [marriage] equality for gay couples and I believe that it will happen over time,” he said. “I think that more and more Americans are insistent that, at a minimum, gay couples should be treated with respect and when they see a political party trying to stigmatize a group of people who are hardworking, who play by the rules, who raise decent families, they’re troubled by it.”

Schmidt is scheduled to appear at the Log Cabin Republicans’ annual convention, planned for next month in D.C."

March 26, 2009 10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It won't lose again."

that's what they said the last couple of dozen times

March 26, 2009 11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's what they said the last couple of dozen times

And each time it is said, another jurisdiction sees the light of justice and equality and grants full equal civil rights to all its citizens. That's why I love America, it is the home of the brave and the free!

March 27, 2009 7:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And each time it is said, another jurisdiction sees the light of justice and equality and grants full equal civil rights to all its citizens."

Actually, that's not true.

"That's why I love America, it is the home of the brave and the free!"

Yes, it is. And us brave and free people believe marriage is a union between a man and a woman.

btw, could you talk to Michelle Obama? She didn't like America much until we let her live in the White House.

March 27, 2009 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon claimed:

“Yes, it is. And us brave and free people believe marriage is a union between a man and a woman.”

I find it ironic that this statement comes from someone who isn’t brave enough to come up with a name and goes by “Anonymous.”

My name is Cynthia. And after over 3 decades of tying to hide my medical condition, I finally faced up to who I was. I also faced up to the stigma and harassment I knew I would have to deal with once people found out I needed to have a sex change. I lost friends, co-workers, and even parts of my family; not to mention a few body parts. ;)

I have fearlessly faced the CRG folks and all the crap they like to say about me and my kind at a town hall meeting, grocery stores and at their picketing of the EQMD awards gala. All the time showing people I’m just a regular gal, and nothing like the mentally ill perverts they’d like the public to think we are.

Why don’t you use your name Anon? Are you afraid what people will think of you when your snide, derogatory commentary is so easily refuted by a bunch of liberals, transsexuals and gays?

Some of the folks on this side of the fence have received death threats. The worst I’ve seen happen to you is Jim threatening to block your IP address if you don’t behave. What is there to be scared of? You have God on your side, right?

Have a nice day,


March 27, 2009 9:55 AM  

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