Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Green Mountain Marriage...Maybe

Vermont is about to pass a law legalizing same-sex marriage. The governor seems poise to veto it. There are no numbers yet on whether the pro-marriage equality legislature can override that.

Nine years after becoming the first state to legalize civil unions, most of its legislators figure it's past time to upgrade to Marriage Real for homosexual couples. As in Massachusetts, Connecticut and other domestic partnership and civil union states, Vermont did not suffer following it 2000 advance. The crazy talk about mass exodus from the state, the collapse of different-gender marriages, confused and parentless children are just church coffee hour babbling, and the stuff of made-up pseudo-research.

Now this session, both the House and Senate have been around the state and as a group are ready to do the civil rights thing at last. Yet, Gov. Jim Douglas has remained in that silly camp of we-gave-them-civil-unions-what-do-they-want-now. Late last year, he said, ""I think the current civil union law is sufficient. It accords equality of rights to Vermonters in terms of their relationships and I think we should leave the law as it is." He added, "I never indicate what I might do when a bill gets to my desk, but I've been quite clear that I don't support the legislation."

He may be swayed by this week of hearings in the Senate's judiciary committee. The anti-SSM folk are there, but in diminished numbers and support. Some of them have been testifying that the nearly the whole state is against SSM. Some call for a plebiscite instead of a law. They all seem to repeat the discredited claims of disaster to families and marriages. Ironically, the pro-SSM side has many speakers specifying the differences between civil union and marriage, legally and socially. The harm on this issue is all one way — hampering same-sex couples just because they are same-sex couples.

Regardless, you can read and hear for yourself. Just after one full day of testimony, the Burlington Free Press as a solid set of articles, starting here. Bay Windows has good background.

What you really need is Vermont's Freedom to Marry folk's testimony clips here, which I highly recommend. Check out the playbill here. You'll find out who's consumed with anal sex and the mechanics of marriage consummation. You'll see who pushed pretend research and tortured stats as proof of, well really of nothing. Then there's a phalanx of pro-SSM subject matter experts.

It's fun stuff and the week has just begun.

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