big day in VT

April 7th, 2009 | Uncategorized

Photo 71

Governor Stoat vetoed the same sex marriage bill yesterday, as he promised to. This morning it gets sent back to the Senate for an override vote, which is expected to pass. Then it goes to the House, where NOBODY KNOWS WHAT WILL HAPPEN! The House voted last week 94-52 in favor of the bill, but pro-same-sex marriage Republicans could vote NOT to override the veto. 100 votes are needed for an override.

I would just as soon be tied in a burlap sack and tossed off a bridge as married, but I’m gonna be pissed off if this all comes to naught. And ecstatic if it doesn’t.

43 Responses to “big day in VT”

  1. Acilius says:

    It’s depressing and exciting at the same time. Depressing that the antis control the governorship even in Vermont, exciting that the next step is so unpredictable.

  2. hairball_of_hope says:

    I was wondering what the banner “Cats On Ice” was all about. I had visions of felines sliding around the rink with Peggy Fleming in some choreographed dance. Then I saw the “Frozen Four” banner, and realized this must be NCAA college hockey finals.

    Do both votes on the veto override happen today?

  3. Scotia says:

    It would be nice to know that NOT being married is a choice one is free to make.

  4. I’m streamin’ the action here.

  5. Steph says:

    Hmmm, tough call. As someone who never dreamed, desired or wanted to get married, I found myself blubbering like a baby through my vows here in Toronto. When it came down to it, it made a huge difference in having the choice in whether Monica and I would get married, rather then our commitment and love seeming like it is not in the same class. That said, marriage as an ‘institution’ is pretty ridiculous, but it was a crazy feeling, like none I had experienced, having a minister preside, my mom sing and play her accordion during the reception, and have all our friends and family tell us how happy they were for us! I wish all of you in the US heartfelt hope for getting it done down there, so that those of you who are interested in taking the plunge have that choice.

  6. Kate L says:

    “I would just as soon be tied in a burlap sack and tossed off a bridge as married” – A.B.

    I hear ‘ya sister! Here’s The Onion’s take on the matter:

  7. Acilius says:

    @Steph: Congrats! On every part of it, especially on the fact that your Mom plays the accordion.

  8. TAF says:

    for those of us who can’t watch the streaming at work, twitter feed from Burlington Free Press is #bfp_news – VT Freedom to Marry is #vtfreetomarry

  9. Anonymous says:

    They did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Ruth in RI says:

    That anonymous post was me, too excited to remember to add a name. Wish I were up there to celebrate!

  11. hairball_of_hope says:

    Good opinion piece in today’s Wall Street Journal, “Why Gay Marriage Matters”:

  12. AndreaC says:

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Congratulations on living in an awesome state full of awesomeness!!!

  13. I’m moving to Vermont!

  14. ksbel6 says:

    Too funny AB πŸ™‚ Congrats!!

  15. Suz (Bklyn) says:


  16. NickelJoey says:

    Congratulations! Such great news!

  17. Lori in NYC says:

    Great work VT! Too bad the NY gay marriage approval is being held up by some conservative Democrats in the Bronx!

  18. hairball_of_hope says:

    Yeeee-haaaahhh! (Now I just have to find someone to marry.)

  19. Kate L says:

    Wow, that was quick, decisive action by the Vermont legislature! I leave for an hour to give a lecture and when I return the space-time continuum has taken a turn for the better! πŸ™‚ Not that I’m getting married anytime soon. So stop asking, Mom!

    I’m also happy that I heard the news from you guys!

  20. Steph says:

    Congrats Vermonters!!!

  21. Ali says:

    Is this it? Or are there more ways to over ride and veto. I don’t understand federal government – I am only a politics graduate – but in the UK there are Law Lords and the House of Lords and the European courts to intervene – although the later would probably never do so over granting of freedoms. I would like to think it will be permanent unlike California. What is happening on that by the way? I thought it was ironically amusing the Portia De Rossi (sp?) apologised for getting married. Also is this different to civil partnerships that we have in the Uk – as in the full thing, that you get to be Mrs and Mrs or Mr and Mr? I agree that it is about the right to choose – For same sex relationships to have the same recognition and therefore become something less and less villified by Joe public. I am both an individualist and an easliy embarrased english girl so I just want for my relationship to be normal because that is what it is to me.
    So the dilemma is does becoming publically acceptable affect the best of lesbian culture – is it selling out to become like the masses? I don’t know there is no lesbian culture in North Norfolk…

  22. Steph says:

    Thanks! It’s a good thing you can’t attach jpegs or I might be tempted into boring you with wedding photos. Every new right comes with its own set of drawbacks: sitting through your friends’ (or strangers’) wedding photos would be high on that bloody list!

  23. TAF says:

    @ Steph – or when people start bugging you about kids. Some folks just can’t accept that the daughter I have from my first marriage is enough!

  24. Steph says:

    @TAF. So true! Interestingly, my mom never nudged us about having kids until after the wedding even though Monica and I had been together since 1999. Since the wedding (June ’06) she keeps bringing it up. I guess she figured that if we were in for a conventional penny we were in for a pound. Not a chance!

  25. Dr. Empirical says:

    Steph: I think it’s so cool that your mother played accordion at your reception.

    Ali: It’s possible a future legislature could vote to overturn the law legalizing equal marriage. A court could rule it unconstitutional. It could also probably be overturned by an ammendment to the state constitution. Although I don’t know Vermont’s rules for ammending their constitution (it varies from state to state), most states are set up to make constitutional ammendments very difficult.

    None of those three scenarios seem likely.

  26. Ali says:

    Why has it been overturned in other states? Or rather why has the law been passed in the first place to merely repeal it later? I hope that the attempt to veto in Vermont will have made those who passed the law committed to its longterm future! America seems to hold the best and worst of people so my guess is Vermonters (correct noun?) may equal a good percentage of the former.

  27. joe c says:

    Any chance he stood his ground strictly to save political face, knowing it was going to pass as it did?

  28. dc says:

    β€œI would just as soon be tied in a burlap sack and tossed off a bridge as married” – A.B.

    I’m so happy there are strong high profile lesbians who are not enamoured of the wedded state…you and Rachel Maddow are 2 excellent examples πŸ™‚

  29. mamacrab says:

    After seeing your screen shot, I went to the Burlington Free Press and clicked through the gallery of photos showing reaction to the news. I got all weepy- such lovely photos and such a happy day!!

  30. eso says:

    I still hold out hope that we’ll eventually look back on this the way we do things like, oh, say, not allowing women to vote. It’s like, “What were we thinking? That was never right.”

    Of course, I’m still feeling so happy to be out from under the Bush regime. It’s like a cloud being lifted. This case in particular, which I’ve been following closely, is starting to give me even more hope:
    posted by itsobb at 10:29 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]

  31. MidSouth Mouth says:

    Really, Dr. Maddow is not personally for it?

  32. Kate L says:

    There was a city commission election in my hometown yesterday. We now have a majority on our city commission for amending the local human rights ordnance to include sexual orientation and gender identity and expression as protected categories, the same as race, religion, and military service! I don’t think we are in Kansas, anymore. Yes, military service is already in the ordnance. It gives the lie to the people who claim that being LGBT is a “choice” and that “choices” shouldn’t be protected categories. But then, isn’t religion a choice, also?

  33. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    Well that’s good news. I am confused about the necessity for having a military service inclusion in the local rights ordinance. Employers can’t discriminate on the basis of a person having a military obligation, but I suppose they could discriminate AGAINST someone who didn’t serve. Does the ordinance protect against that kind of discrimination?

    Or perhaps it’s more geared toward housing discrimination? While some landlords in military communities like to rent to military (they won’t have trouble collecting rent, the military makes soldiers pay up), others don’t like the classes/races that are often associated with enlisted personnel, and might use military membership as an excuse not to rent. Or perhaps the transient nature of military renters turns off landlords?

    As for religion being a choice… uh, look at WWII European history. Not everyone sees it that way.

  34. Kate L says:

    The military thing came up in the 1980’s when soldiers from the local US army fort were complaining about being harassed while on leave here in town. You’re right about religion, although the last time I was in a synagogue was Rosh Hashanah 1975 (!)

  35. The Cat Pimp says:

    I’m not gay, but that does it. When I retire, I’m movin’ to Vermont.

    PS – love that hat, AB.

  36. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Cat Pimp

    Hmmmm… now that we’ve taken over Vermont, maybe we need to start working on another New England state. Maybe we should take over their next door neighbor New Hampshire? πŸ˜‰

  37. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    Well, you’ve had nearly 35 years to work on your shofar-blowing skills. πŸ˜‰

    De-clique-ification note, the shofar is a real ram’s horn sounded on Rosh Hashonah, the Jewish New Year, and ten days later on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It’s a very tricky thing to do correctly, and even trickier to do well.

    Aside: Many years ago I was in Mexico at the Chichen Itza ruins for the vernal equinox. At the exact moment of the vernal equinox, the sunlight hits the Mayan ruins such that the body of a snake appears at the base of the stairs and extends up the stairs, lasts for a few minutes, and then disappears. The process is reversed for the autumnal equinox, the body of the snake appears, then shrinks downward to the stone snake head. At the moment of the equinox, these kids in loincloths blew conch shells. I asked my traveling buddy, “Who’s blowing a shofar?” The conch shells sounded almost exactly like a shofar.

  38. to wed or not to wed? says:

    AB whats Holly’s stance and would she be tying/tossing the burlap sack?

  39. Kaitlin Duck Sherwood says:

    Re the burlap sack: fine, but please understand that the biggest point of civil marriage is to make sure that the right thing happens when the wrong things happen. As long as your life is going well, you don’t need civil marriage, but when death, illness, and divorce happens, civil marriage offers legal protections.

    And note to those who think “they don’t need permission from the state” — that’s actually backwards. Marriage is you saying to the state, “Hey! I demand that you treat this person specially!”

  40. to wed or not to wed? says:

    well in that case Kaitlin….My Sandy is for sure very very special and she deserves everything that I would leave in and for her care.

  41. Duncan says:

    The thing is, though, Alison DID get married. In San Francisco, as I recall. No burlap sack was involved that I know of.

    Kaitlin Duck Sherwood — if you were right about civil marriage then it would have to be extended to everyone. Like Alison wanting to move to Vermont: I don’t want to have another person permanently and legally stapled to me, but I want legal protection in case I die, get sick, or get divorced! And “divorce” is not the best example for you to give — “divorce” is created by marriage, not something that marriage protects you from. A person should not have to get married to have health care, a pension, etc. Having marriage guarantee benefits to a spouse is a hangover from the days when married women were wholly dependent on their husbands — and that was an intended function and result of marriage.

    In Nancy Polikoff’s good book “Beyond (Gay and Straight) Marriage” she describes two English sisters in their 80s who’ve shared a house for many years. When one of them dies, the other one will lose the house. Should they be allowed to get married to each other? (That would be incest! Eeek! Gaak!) Inheritance and such considerations should be handled fairly whether a couple is legally married or not. Many women in the 70s and after voted against marriage with their feet, which is one reason why so many heterosexuals live together without being married. There are other ways (domestic partnership, civil unions, etc.) besides marriage to protect partners’ welfare

    “that’s actually backwards.” No, it’s not. In the not-so-old days, marriage WAS legal permission from the state to copulate and cohabit — fornication and adultery were civil crimes, to say nothing of sodomy. “Marriage is you saying to the state, ‘Hey! I demand that you treat this person specially!” As I pointed out before, that’s not an accurate account of marital ‘protection’ of a wife. The more I hear propaganda like yours from gay-marriage advocates, who are sounding more and more like Christian-right marriage advocates, the more I’m sure I’m right not to support the same-sex marriage project.

  42. Andrew B says:

    Duncan, I agree with you medical care and other necessities should not depend on having a state-recognized sexual partner. Thanks for the reference to Polikoff and the interesting case she describes. But I disagree on two points.

    Kaitlin plainly was using “divorce” broadly, to mean the breakup of any long-term sexual and domestic partnership with a person who is at least the primary, or possibly exclusive, partner. In that sense, divorce is not created by marriage and any person could reasonably wish to have the protections of divorce law when going through such a breakup. Think of Toni and Clarice. Their breakup was reasonably amicable, at least as far as it got before the strip ended, but suppose it hadn’t been? There would have been questions about property and about custody and visitation with Raffi. That’s divorce! (And their civil union, of course, had no bearing since they weren’t Vermont residents.)

    Second, you seem to be conflating the history of marriage with its present function. Presently, women (theoretically) have an equal right to earn a living and hold property, and fornication, adultery, and sodomy are not punishable by law. (I’m not sure what a “civil crime” is. I think adultery can still be the grounds of a fault divorce.) Presently, marriage does permit individuals to make a certain kind of claim on the state — that they should have certain rights and protections with respect to their dealing with each other that non-married couples do not have. Presently, Kaitlin is right about this. It’s important to know about the past, but you can’t read the past directly into the present. We don’t celebrate Christmas in late December so as to disguise it as part of the Saturnalia and avoid getting thrown to the lions. In fact, quite a lot of us who celebrate Christmas, including me, aren’t even Christians.

    I support gay marriage purely on equal rights grounds. In fact, one of the things I like about it is that it forces people to confront the extent to which marriage is just a contract. I agree with you about the fundamental unfairness of making goods like access to health care dependent on state recognition of a sexual relationship. But so long as that privilege is available to straights, it seems to me it should be available to gays.