Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Putting the Er in Vermont

Way uptown in the Green Mountain State, Gov. Jim Douglas would like same-sex marriage just to go away. Vermont is a quiet place with no metropolises or race riots, and traffic jams are measured in minutes.

Yet a pushy Democrat, Rep. Mark Larson, has drafted and is ready to file a bill that causes the Republican governor agita. The state has gotten along just fine with civil unions. Six years ago, it was the first state in the nation to permit same-sex couples to join that way. It works fine, disrupts no one, and simply makes the laws there fairer. That's nice.

Well, according to the Brattleboro Reformer, Snyder has the audacity (our word) to say that the state is ready to talk about the possibility of same-sex marriage. As a sidelight, this may be proof absolute of the impatient gay agenda, racing inexorably to hell, taking the whole nation with it, and only waiting six years to ask to talk about a possible law. Tsk.

Thursday, he intends to introduce the bill. It intends to permit same-sex marriage and to allow any clergy who do not want to perform such marriages to refuse without penalty.

Oddly enough, Snyder's bill does not consider civil unions at all. It does not have a process for conversion to the real thing nor for abolishing those unions. An attorney for the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force, Beth Robinson, said the bill "really focuses on eliminating the discrimination in the marriage statute." Someone else later would have to clean up the mess, we guess.

Robinson added, "A marriage license isn't just a piece of paper. It represents full inclusion among Vermont families."

As befitting such a polite and quiet state, Larson won't be upset if the bill does not get a hearing until next year. He spoke with legislative leaders, but he did not seek any schedule guarantees and knows there are a lot of bills to consider already.

The governor won't even say whether he would veto a resulting marriage law. He just wants the whole subject to evaporate. "All of you remember the experience we had about five years ago here which was very, very divisive, and I don't want to go through that again. I think most Vermonters would say, as I would, that we ought to leave the law the way it is and not try to change it at this point."

That's understandable, not very mature, but understandable.

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