Thursday, March 26, 2009

Vermont: Who's Counting?

If anyone has reasonable estimates of Vermont House member's marriage-equality votes, no one is playing that hand. When befuddled Gov. Jim Douglas announced in a surprise yesterday that he's vote the bill, the political barnyard came alive with noise and action.

The anti-gay/anti-SSM crowd heaped praise on him. Both sides exhorted their supporters to flood the House members with calls, letters, emails and visits to influence the vote.

Surely Vermont Freedom to Marry, GLAD and others have been tallying the House likely votes. Even with a solid veto-override majority in the Senate, getting 100 of the 150 members of the House present in an override attempt has always been iffy.

We have to wonder whether the good guys or the Dark Side knows how close that vote will be and hesitates to let the enemy know. Otherwise, is that not the way this game is played up North? Regardless, I'll watch for numbers and projections. Meanwhile, Bay Windows' has joined everyone else in projecting only that the bill will pass the House.

As it has been throughout, the absolute best coverage is in the Burlington Free Press. They are acting like a real newspaper. Today's issue, for example, includes:
Podcast note: The above audio link is not working for me. The previous one I listed yesterday still does.

To the override question, they quote House Speaker Shap Smith saying he didn't know how Douglas' position would affect the vote, nor did he know if there were 100 votes for an override. Likewise, former Rep. George Schiavone, who is lobbying against the bill, said an override is "within shooting distance."

The paper says the potentially tally is close. "A veto override can be difficult to predict, as members might vote one way on the bill but then support their party caucus on an override vote. Democrats, Progressives and independents together have 102 members in the House. Republicans have 48 members."

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