GAY MARRIAGE PASSES IN VERMONT!
Okay, first things first — GAY MARRIAGE IS NOW LEGAL IN THE STATE OF VERMONT!!!! Republican Governor Jim Douglas vetoed the bill as soon as it hit his desk (probably afraid of getting the gay cooties), and the Legislature overrode the veto. The Senate vote wasn’t close, but the House needed 100 votes to override, and by the gods they got 100 votes. Exactly.
I’m a little overwhelmed right now… okay, a lot overwhelmed…
I was curious, so I went to the Legislature’s web page to read the text of the bill. You can, here (it’s a PDF).
The bill does all of the heavy lifting, setting out the changes to Vermont law and statute needed to make gay marriage legal here. A few things jumped out at me. I was surprised at how strongly it affected me to read:
§ 8. MARRIAGE DEFINITION
Marriage is the legally recognized union of
one man and one womantwo
people. When used in this chapter or in any other statute, the word “marriage”
shall mean a civil marriage. Terms relating to the marital relationship or
familial relationships shall be construed consistently with this section for all
purposes throughout the law, whether in the context of statute, administrative
or court rule, policy, common law, or any other source of civil law.
And then I was surprised at my own reaction to this little bit of administrative clarification:
(2) The department shall prescribe forms that allow each party to a
marriage to be designated “bride,” “groom,” or “spouse,” as he or she chooses
I usually try to say something pithy or interesting, but I’m just overwhelmed by the whole thing. I really didn’t believe that the House had the votes to override the veto
(and I’m pissed as fuck at South Burlington Representative Sonny Audette, who voted against the bill when it came up, then abstained from the veto override vote — after telling the local paper that he would vote for the veto override), and I’m not sure what to feel or do right now. (Update: turns out Vermont required 2/3 of the members of the Chamber who bothered to show up to override a veto. So Audette’s absence actually lowered the number of needed votes to 98. Crazy, huh?)
R and I have been together for over 13 years. We’ve been registered domestic partners in Washington, D.C., the city of San Francisco, the state of California, and the city of Pittsburgh. We’ve had a civil union since shortly after we arrived in Vermont. And we had a huge-ass ceremony/party to celebrate the C.U. and our 10-year anniversary on a lovely ship out in the middle of Lake Champlain.
But none of that was a wedding. None of it was marriage. Sorta.
When Hawaii was poised to become the first state to allow gay marriage back in the late 90s, we were planning to fly all the way out there to get hitched. Then the “good” people of Hawaii decided to amend their constitution to prevent us from dropping by.
But now marriage is here, in my state. No air travel required. No need to return to a jurisdiction that doesn’t recognize what you just did. And… wow.
“This act shall take effect September 1, 2009.”