Tuesday, April 7, 2009

G/L Marriage Legal In Vermont; GOP Governor's Veto Overridden

MONTPELIER, Vermont (Observer Update) - Vermont has become the fourth state where same-sex marriage is legal. The House and Senate overrode Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto of a marriage bill. The Republican governor, as expected, nixed the bill Monday night when it arrived on his desk and sent it back to the legislature.

Dozens of Gay marriage supporters wearing Freedom to Marry stickers began arriving at the State House early Tuesday morning (April 7). The Senate voted 23-5 to override the veto. It then moved to the House, which voted 100-49 - the exact number needed to override the veto. While the broad spread in the Senate was predicted, the House vote went down to the wire. Tuesday morning, Democratic leaders said the vote could come down to a single vote, and they were right.

“Vermont is once again making history. Nine years ago it did so when it became the first state to grant legal recognition of same-sex relationships through its civil unions law; today, it became the first state Legislature to pass and enact a marriage equality measure," said Rea Carey, Executive Director of NGLTF in a statement.

"Today's decision is an important step, and affirms the enduring commitment of so many gay and lesbian couples in Vermont," said GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano. "As people come to know the stories of the couples at the heart of these decisions, we are seeing the kind of culture change that creates this progress – progress that ensures that all people, regardless of their orientation, are protected equally under the law."

"Today, Vermont legislators lived up to their state motto – freedom and unity – and their override of the Governor's veto ensures that thousands of same-sex couples living in Vermont will have the freedom to marry the person they love," said Molly McKay, Marriage Equality USA Media Director. "We know in our hearts, it is only a matter of time for America to turn its back on this history of discrimination against same-sex couples. To witness within a week the Iowa Supreme Court's unanimous decision, followed by Vermont's legislative stand, both in support of marriage equality gives us hope that we may be able to live our happily ever afters sooner than we think."

“We in Arizona applaud all of the fair minded Vermont legislators who listened to their constituents and voted for marriage equality in their state,” said Barbara McCullough-Jones, Executive Director of Equality Arizona.

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