After a plethora of public hearings and studying the matter for nearly a year, the Vermont Commission on Family Recognition and Protection said that the nation's oldest civil-unions did not meet the states' fairness and equality requirements. The 2000 enabling legislation needs, needs, well, they won't say.
"They all hide behind each other," said Karen Loewy, GLAD attorney and co-counsel in Goodridge at an SSM symposium in Rhode Island last month about various states' politicians. Such prescience.
The 11-member commission released its report yesterday. You can see a PDF file of it here. Do look for clear statements of why marriage is the only equalizer. Don't look for a conclusion that the legislature create equal marriage. Do look for study results that point to marriage equality as the only solution to fix the problem. Don't look for a demand or even suggestion that this occur.
As unbelievable as it seems after the study, testimony and particularly the commission's own findings, they could not bring themselves to state the obvious. Cue Loewy's comment yet again.
Instead (see page 28) for the barnyard cackling that plunges into silence and torpor with four recommendations:
- More study. Study the Massachusetts SSM experience.
- More study. Study the Vermont tax system to see if they can massage civil union provisions to replicate the ease and benefits of marriage in tax preparation and payment.
- More review. Hit the research on families and kids in various marriages to see if there is some consensus on what is best for kids.
- Fire drill on civil unions. Try to do the legislature's job on existing civil unions. Second guess what to do about existing ones instead of leaving it with lawmakers, as it is now.
After the eight hearings and all the study, this quivering group did not have the collective courage to finish the job.
Yet this delay will not take the pressure off to align the state's equality and anti-discrimination laws with the civil unions one. "You can absolutely expect us to be back in 2009 pushing the issue," responded Beth Robinson of the Freedom to Marry Task Force.
This report is an amazing illustration of ill-logic and cowardice. I'll pummel the pages and look for Leonard Link's analysis. I'm sure more will follow.
Tags: massmarrier, Massachusetts, Vermont, same sex marriage, civil unions, marriage equality