Wednesday, April 08, 2009

1 Vote, 100 Votes Lie

The anti-equality sophists were ready when the Vermont legislature overrode Gov. Jim Douglas' veto of same-sex marriage. In a tribute to how simple-minded and emotional their followers are, the National Organization for Marriage led the way painting the rights victory as a single-vote aberration.

That is a fascinating, spurious and delusional way of describing a two-thirds override. The count in the Vermont House was 100 of 149 reps in attendance.

Lead news on the NOM website reads, "By only one vote, the Vermont House just voted to override Governor Douglas's veto, overturning the common sense definition of marriage shared by people of diverse faiths, backgrounds, nations, and political parties. Today is truly a sad day for Vermont and this nation." Likewise, their executive director, Brian Brown, was a this-but-that interviewee in the Washington Post yesterday. His spin included:
The Vermont House voted by only a single vote to override Governor Douglas's veto, a single vote. This vote clearly goes against the peoples understanding of marriage. Common sense and basic democratic norms dictate that such an important question should have gone directly to the voters of Vermont. Instead, the Legislature refused to allow the people a direct say in the future of our most important social institution--marriage.
Let's concentrate on this group of the numerous anti-SSM ones. It has all the coarseness and duplicity that comes with the position. (Do read all of the WP dialog. Brown repeats numerous lies, such as Massachusetts Catholic Charities being forced to halt adoptions instead of choosing to do so instead of complying with non-discrimination laws.)

The anti folk fall back to their last, best hope, ballot initiatives. Hell, that recently worked in California, overturning SSM in a state where the legislature legalized it twice (and the governor vetoes that, crying out for a court decision), and the high court mandated it.

There were numerous calls from inside and outside Vermont for a plebiscite when it was clear that the majority of the elected senators and representatives were in favor of SSM. Unfortunately for the bad guys, that state is in the half of those in the nation that do not have ballot initiatives to allow a tyranny of the majority of change-resistant voters.

So, in Vermont, the anti-SSM folk called out for a non-binding referendum before the SSM bill passed. That simply was a ruse to give them two years to figure out a way to turn a one-third minority into at least a simple majority. Right.

Even our beleaguered Globe loves the one-vote-margin story. Today, it runs a piece on one of the House members who switched his vote. This is myth enabling and perpetuation, including downplaying the two-thirds vote as well as the 6 Republicans who voted for the law and the 7 Democrats who voted against it. One guy claiming to be afraid for his political future makes a better story.

The fact is that Vermont's legislature, both houses, went for SSM. They went heavily for SSM. In a get-along state, they dared an extremely rare override to do the right thing.

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