During his gubernatorial campaign last year, Vermont Democrat Peter Shumlin told lesbian couple Michele “Mitch” Beck and Ann Beck that should he be elected, he personally would marry them.
Now that's he's firmly in office, Shumlin has made good on his word, the Washington Post reports:
The first-term Democrat presided over the marriage Wednesday of 55-year-old Michele “Mitch” Beck and 56-year-old Ann Beck, of Royalton. Shumlin led the push to legalize same-sex weddings in Vermont as a state lawmaker in 2009.
He paid $100 to the Secretary of State’s office to be certified as a “temporary officiant,” donned a crisp navy suit and did the honors.
Congratulations to the Becks on their nuptials -- and thank you to Shumlin for all your support!
The folks behind an anti-homophobia drama called The Bus which was first produced and well-received in Vermont want to take their play off-Broadway, and to somewhere else it might resonate — near the Topeka HQ of the Westboro Baptist Church:
"The Bus tells the story of two boys who, late at night, regularly rendezvous in a parked church bus just to be close. When their secret meeting place is in danger of being discovered, the boys find themselves in the middle of a family conﬂict between a large church and a small-town gas station—and the clash proves explosive."
Watch them explain, AFTER THE JUMP...
And they have a Kickstarter page, if you support their plan.
A major break in the ongoing case of Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins who have been embroiled in a custody case for almost a decade. The two were joined in a civil union in Vermont in 2000 and, two years later, Miller gave birth to a daughter named Isabella. The following year, the two ended their relationship.
The AP has further details on the couple's past: "Lisa Miller then moved to Virginia, renounced homosexuality and became an evangelical Christian. She was granted custody of Isabella, but Jenkins got visitation rights. Courts in Vermont and Virginia have since ruled in favor of Jenkins on the custody issue, most recently in November 2009, when Rutland Family Court Judge William Cohen — frustrated by Lisa Miller's refusal to obey court orders — ordered her to surrender custody to Jenkins. Lisa Miller, who at one time lived in Forest, Va., failed to appear with the girl for a court-ordered Jan. 1, 2010, custody swap in which Jenkins was to take her. A federal arrest warrant has since been issued for her."
Last week, the FBI arrested a 34-year old pastor named Timothy David Miller (authorities do not believe he is related to Lisa Miller) for aiding in an international parental kidnapping. Miller is believed to have helped coordinate travel for Lisa Miller and Isabella outside of the United States and also arranged for them to live in their current location which is believed to be in Nicaragua. He has also been linked to Jerry Falwell's anti-gay Christian school, Liberty University.
Jenkins has released a statement through her lawyers: "I know very little at this point, but I really hope that this means that Isabella is safe and well. I am looking forward to having my daughter home safe with me very soon."
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin traveled to Providence, Rhode Island yesterday to talk with lawmakers and Governor Lincoln Chafee about how marriage equality has helped his state.
Accompanied by his 20-year-old daughter, Olivia, Shumlin arrived at the State House shortly after 2:30 p.m. for a meeting with House Speaker Gordon D. Fox.
He then met with several other lawmakers, including: Senators Joshua Miller, D-Cranston; Rhoda Perry, D-Providence; and Juan Pichardo, D-Providence; and Representatives Frank Ferri, D-Warwick; Arthur Handy, D-Cranston; Larry Valencia, D-Richmond; and Donna Walsh, D-Charlestown, said Bill Fischer, spokesman for Marriage Equality Rhode Island, a gay advocacy group that arranged the visit.
“My view is a tolerant atmosphere fosters creativity,” Chafee, an independent and a supporter of same-sex marriage, told about 50 people. “It fosters economic innovation, it fosters growth and it puts our people to work.”
While Chafee and Shumlin talked, about 40 people, most of them from the Hispanic Ministerial Association of Rhode Island, prayed and held signs outside the State Room to voice opposition to same-sex marriage and support for traditional marriage.
The Burlington Free Press adds:
Vermont lawmakers first authorized civil unions a decade ago. Shumlin urged Rhode Island to avoid that "half step" and pass a full gay marriage law instead.
"We went halfway, and halfway on civil rights isn't good enough," he said during a joint news conference with Chafee, a longstanding supporter of gay marriage.
Vermont's marriage equality law took effect in September 2009. Prior to that the state had recognized civil unions since 2000.
The Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings earlier this month on a marriage equality bill pending in the state. Watch video of the contentious debate, HERE.