Gay Marriage | News | Vermont

Veto, Override Vote Imminent on Same-Sex Marriage in Vermont

After last week's victory in Iowa, the focus on same-sex marriage shifts back to Vermont early this week. A veto from Governor Jim Douglas of the marriage equality bill which passed the House last week could come as early as this evening, WPTZ reports:

Douglas_vermont "Gov. Jim Douglas could veto Vermont's civil marriage bill as early as Monday night. State lawmakers said they will try to override the governor, but no one knows if House leaders have the votes needed to do so, NewsChannel 5's Ashe Reardon reported. On Friday, the Vermont House gave final approval to a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage starting in September. The Senate will hold a vote Tuesday morning, followed by the House."

"Intense lobbying" is underway...

Canvassers and phone bank volunteers are still needed in Vermont. Check Vermont Freedom to Marry for information.

In related news, the Burlington Free Press published a beautiful profile over the weekend on Bobbi Whitacre and Sandi Cote, two women and former military officers who have been together for 42 years and hope to be able to marry.

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Comments

  1. It will be interesting to see what if any impact the Iowa decision will have on this? The Governor's veto is of course just political BS. The legislators have already spent the time on this, so the veto is more punitive than constructive. He is just playing to the Vermont wingnut base. I hope enough brave souls break ranks and override... that would be fabulous. In any event, the vote already is so overwhelming in favor of marriage equality, the rest of the country should get a clue...

    Posted by: Mike | Apr 6, 2009 8:57:34 AM


  2. Bobbi and Sandi's story is a history lesson in itself! But of course in the interest of "fairness" it was paired with the rantings of some random minister. Today as well, there is one pro and one con "My Turn" in the Free Press.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Apr 6, 2009 9:42:48 AM


  3. Yes, Bobbi and Sandi's story is what it's all about. They were featured in one of VT Freedom to Marry's ads. Our poster girls! It's hard to imagine that anyone could see them and think they shouldn't be married, but . . . Supporters in VT were working overtime this weekend trying to nudge those extra few House votes in our favor. Assuming the override vote happens tomorrow, as expected, it will be a big day here! 2/3 of those present required, fingers and everything else crossed.

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 6, 2009 9:57:50 AM


  4. 42 years. well, good for sandi and bobbi. :-D

    hopefully this all goes through.

    Posted by: liz templin | Apr 6, 2009 10:20:58 AM


  5. Those of us not in Vermont still have the power to help override this veto.

    We only need 2 more votes to override Jim Douglas's veto. Two of the 10 democrats who voted against the bill can be persuaded to vote in favor of it if WE put pressure on them, (Remember Sen. Ruben Diaz in NY?). The names and phone numbers of the lawmakers we should be targeting will be posted on http://thepoweronline.wordpress.com/ later today. Distribute the list to everyone you know and don't stop calling until we have made ourselves loud and clear.

    Posted by: Jeff H.l | Apr 6, 2009 11:23:04 AM


  6. But wait, I thought it was only activist judges who supported equality? Or did I also forget the California legislature?

    Posted by: David R. | Apr 6, 2009 1:00:22 PM


  7. "The names and phone numbers of the lawmakers we should be targeting will be posted on http://thepoweronline.wordpress.com/ later today. Distribute the list to everyone you know and don't stop calling until we have made ourselves loud and clear."

    Good intentions, bad tactic, unless you are a VTer. The legislators need to hear from their constituents. Getting calls from out-of-staters would do more harm than good at this sensitive time in the process. I'm not trying to discourage activism, but we need to be smart about it by understanding the ground realities.

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 6, 2009 3:41:26 PM


  8. @Ernie,

    You said, “Good intentions, bad tactic, unless you are a VTer. The legislators need to hear from their constituents. Getting calls from out-of-staters would do more harm than good at this sensitive time in the process. I'm not trying to discourage activism, but we need to be smart about it by understanding the ground realities.”

    Understanding the ground realities is the principle motivation for this action. It's also one of the reasons why we aren't calling them at their congressional office; we are calling them at home. Lawmakers everywhere need to be held personally accountable for the decisions they make. After all, these decisions have personal implications in the lives of every LGBT person everywhere. It’s not a simple political issue that should be addressed by other politicians and lobbyists – it is a personal human rights issue, and I am not going to retreat and “let the professionals take care of it” without a fight. Ask any (effective) LGBT lobbyist; they NEED the leverage of the ‘angry crowd with torches and pitchforks outside the castle walls’ as it were to point to in order for their arguments to have any weight or consequence.

    We need to know where these lawmakers stand. If lawmakers such as Rep. Cynthia Browning choose to continue to back down and hide behind purely political positions such as “I am voting no on this bill because I am standing with President Obama on the issue of gay marriage” (yet at the same time voting against her own party - in her own state), then we - all of us across the US – not just in Vermont, need to know that for two reasons. First, if the buck stops with Obama (as he has said it does) then Obama needs to be held responsible and answer to all of us on why his leadership on LGBT rights inspired and led the defeat of this state issue in Vermont.

    In addition, actions like this raise the visibility (nationally, not just in Vermont) of lawmakers who continue to deny civil rights to discriminated minority groups such as the LGBT community. Hopefully other lawmakers will understand that there will be very visible results for their actions. If the LGBT community is able to identify the individual lawmakers across the country that are standing in the way of basic civil justice as well as their own party (as these two lawmakers are) then we have the financial means to REPLACE THEM with lawmakers who support equality.

    This blog probably gets as many hits in a day as live in the entire southern half of Vermont. If each one of us gave only $1 to a cause that funds the expulsion of individuals like these then we would not have to calling or lobbying at all. We could simply choose to fund the primary campaigns of other representatives that are sympathetic to civil justice. And THAT is why it is not only an appropriate action for us, Vermonters or not, to call and let our voices be heard, it is critical if we truly believe that we are deserving of our basic rights.

    To win full marriage equality in Vermont we must push Democrats who voted against the marriage bill to vote with their party and override Republican Governor Jim Douglas’s veto. TEN Democrats voted against marriage last Thursday. Three are expected to vote to override a veto as a show of party unity today. We need two more, but we must act RIGHT NOW.

    So if you do nothing else today, join us in calling these two Democrats to tell them to do the right thing and support the Democratic caucus in overturning the veto. For all of the information, visit THE POWER website here: http://thepoweronline.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/power-action-act-to-overturn-the-vermont-veto-now/

    Posted by: Jeff Hall | Apr 7, 2009 9:45:24 AM


  9. Jeff, we agree in principle, and, trust me, marriage equality supporters all over VT, myself included, have been acting for the past 9 years and up until today. I was giving my opinion of tactics at a very specific point in the process; my intention was not to discourage you or anyone else from acting and certainly not from giving $. The hardest workers in VT have been volunteers, and those continuing grassroots efforts are the reason why we've come this far.

    Now, back to the vote.

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 7, 2009 10:19:14 AM


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