The Times, They Are a-Changin’

Today, the Vermont legislature became the first state to legalize gay marriage, by law rather than judicial ruling. The governor vetoed the bill, but the legislature overrode the veto.

Here is the Burlington Free Press:

Vermont has become the fourth state to legalize gay marriage — and the first to do so with a legislature’s vote.

The Legislature voted Tuesday to override Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto of a bill allowing gays and lesbians to marry. The vote was 23-5 to override in the state Senate and 100-49 to override in the House. Under Vermont law, two-thirds of each chamber had to vote for override.

The vote came nine years after Vermont adopted its first-in-the-nation civil unions law.

It’s now the fourth state to permit same-sex marriage. Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa are the others. Their approval of gay marriage came from the courts.

Tuesday morning’s legislative action came less than a day after Douglas issued a veto message saying the bill would not improve the lot of gay and lesbian couples because it still would not provide them rights under federal and other states’ laws.

Gov. Jim Douglas, who vetoed legislation, said, “I prepared myself for this outcome and predicted it. The outcome was not unexpected.”

He had called the issue of gay marriage a distraction during a time when economic and budget issues were more important.

“What really disappoints me is that we have spent some time on an issue during which another thousand Vermonters have lost their jobs,” the governor said Tuesday. “We need to turn [our] attention to balancing a budget without raising taxes, growing the economy, putting more people to work.”

Shorter Gov. Douglas: There’s no time like never to stop denying gay and lesbian Americans their human and civil rights.

Coincidentally, the District of Columbia’s legislative body also voted today to recognize gay marriages performed in other states. The vote was unanimous: 12-0.

Steve Benen calls the news a “very pleasant surprise“:

This is a breakthrough moment in the history of social justice, and Vermont — my adopted home state — has every reason to be very proud. Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa all got to marriage equality a little quicker, but each did so based on judicial rulings.

Vermont’s new law is a first — elected officials chose to give all of the consenting adults in the state the right to get married, not because of a court ruling or lawsuit, but because they decided it was the right thing to do.

Take a bow, Vermont. It’s a proud day.

Down With Tyranny! quotes Nanci Griffith, whose new song, “The Loving Kind,” the title track from her soon-to-be-released album, is a must-listen. DWT posts the video, and I have it below, as well:

“I read Mildred Loving’s obituary in the New York Times and it just floored me.  She never remarried after Richard died and in her last interview before she passed she expressed hope that their case, Loving v. Virginia would eventually be the open door to same sex marriage. In the New York Times Sunday Magazine (the last one of the year) Mildred was one of 08’s year of brilliant folks we lost. It was such irony that their name was Loving. Also, when they were arrested, Richard was only held overnight while Mildred was held for five days and had to beg for food and was terribly mistreated.”


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