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Howard Dean Urges Vermont Lawmakers to Pass Marriage Equality

With a Vermont House vote approaching and Governor Jim Douglas' veto threat looming, Howard Dean took to the stage at a Vermont Democratic Party reception in Burlington Vermont and urged lawmakers to support same-sex marriage in the state, the Burlington Free Press reports.

Dean Said Dean: "Vote your conscience, not your district. Stand up for doing the right thing; for being a human being. Put human rights above politics -- because if you don't, you'll regret it for the rest of your political career.

The paper adds: "Conservatives, he said, should note that the first American soldier to 'take a bullet' at the onset of the current war in Iraq was a gay man."

Letters have been pouring in to the Vermont statehouse, and legislators are reading them, according to WCAX: "The House Judiciary Committee adjourned its afternoon hearing early to allow lawmakers to read some of the communication. The committee's chair said much of it appears to be from out-of-state, part of an orchestrated campaign to sway legislation here. 'I'm most interested in Vermont communications from Vermont residents, Vermont families, who are telling their stories about why this is an important piece of legislation or telling their story about what their concerns are about this legislation. I am most interested in the Vermont stories,' said Rep. Bill Lippert, D-Vt. House Judiciary Committee Chairman. The House Judiciary Committee expects to vote on the bill Tuesday afternoon. It is likely to pass, and a full vote on the House floor is expected later this week."

Lorber Openly gay Vermont Representative Jason Lorber told the Victory Fund he is cautiously optimistic about passing same-sex marriage despite Douglas' veto threat.

Said Lorber:
“We need to just stay focused on getting this bill passed. We’re certainly disappointed with the governor, but we need to do the right thing. Anytime you try to override a governor it’s a big [challenge] – but I believe we can do it...We’re going to pass it resoundingly, but whether we have the veto-proof margin is a different question. Now that the governor has inserted himself into the legislative process, he has politicized this question even more than it has been. Now, when members are voting they have to take into calculation the veto — whereas before it would have been a much more pure vote of ‘this is how I feel about it.’ ... That’s disappointing that we couldn’t have that vote initially, just on the merits of the bill."

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  1. you go Dr. Dean!

    Posted by: nic | Mar 31, 2009 8:47:46 AM

  2. Update on the Judiciary Committee vote:

    They supported it 8-2, the 2 against both Republicans, surprise surprise. (Peg Flory was an ugly opponent to CUs 9 years ago.) Another Repub would only vote yes if the religious exemption language was strengthened. Never mind that it's right in the title of the bill! (And would exist automatically, since churches aren't currently forced to marry couples they don't wish to marry.)

    Now we're just trying to round up the 2/3 majority we need in the House to get it past the governor's veto. This is helped by the annual "unscientific" Doyle poll (organized by a veteran legislator), which shows VTers in favor of marriage by a good margin. The poll isn't part of our argument, but it helps the legislators to know they have public backing.

    Posted by: Ernie | Mar 31, 2009 12:36:13 PM

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