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February 9, 2009


In Vermont...
Nine years ago Vermont became the first state to legalize civil unions after it lost a discrimination lawsuit bought by Lois Farnham and Holly Puterbaugh. At the time, many opponents of these unions warned of dire consequences ranging from irreversible damage to traditional marriages to the destruction of the moral fiber of Vermont itself.

Well, nine years later, Vermonters have come to realize that those fears were unfounded. None of the dreaded consequences ever occurred. Traditional marriages live on unaffected, the moral fiber hasn't been destroyed and the sky didn't fall. If anything, the state's moral fiber has been considerably strengthened.

So, last Friday, acting on the belief that the time is right to go the final step, Representatives David Zuckerman and Mark Larson, both of Burlington, introduced a bill that would allow same-sex unions.

According to an AP release, co-sponsor Larson said, "This really is a great day and a part of moving forward to a time when all Vermont couples will be treated equally under our laws."

Larson also said that the bill has broad support in the house. It has 59 sponsors and although none are Republican, some have said they would support it if it comes up for a vote.

Democratic House Speaker Shap Smith, who supports the bill, said "We're still trying to decide whether it's something that we would do this year." The states fiscal crisis has already led to voluntary pay cuts, court closings and Gov. Jim Douglas's proposal to lay off more than 600 state workers.

But, this time around, there's much more support and a very different climate. Almost no one expects the kind of raucous debate that the civil unions bill prompted nine years ago.

In Wyoming...
Last Friday, the Wyoming House defeated two anti-gay marriage bills. One would have allowed voters to decided whether or not to amend the state constitution to deny state recognition of same-sex marriages. The other would have banned the state from recognizing out-of-state gay marriages.

Both were soundly defeated by a vote of 35 to 25.

According to Box Turtle Bulletin,

This is especially encouraging when one considers that Republicans have a 41 to 19 advantage over Democrats in the House.

According to the roll call vote, 16 Republicans joined all 19 Democrats.

Score another victory for our team.

And In California...
The California Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments about the constitutional same-sex marriage ban (the now infamous Prop. 8) on March 5th.

According to The Advocate,

California attorney general Jerry Brown -- who has voiced interest in running for governor of the Golden State -- is also asking the court to invalidate Prop. 8 on the grounds that certain fundamental rights, including the right to marry, are inalienable and cannot be put up for a vote.

On January 15, 43 friend-of-the-court briefs -- from bar associations, religious groups, and legal scholars -- urging the court to invalidate Prop. 8 were filed, arguing that Prop. 8 drastically alters the equal-protection guarantee in California’s constitution and that the rights of a minority cannot be eliminated by a simple majority vote.

The court is obligated to issue its decisions within 90 days after all oral arguments have been presented. This is going to be one of the most closely watched cases in history. Not only in our country but around the world as well.

Given the way the court worded it's decision to allow same-sex marriages last year (which now seems like centuries ago) and the fact that the legality of Prop. 8 is highly dubious, I am personally very optimistic about their decisions this time.

With virtually every state in the union having a constitutional guarantee of equal treatment, the court's decision this time could open the floodgates across the nation.

Let's all keep our fingers crossed.


Chaz said...

Think about what your asking for!
Scroll down on this page!

Why do gays value marriage, the gov don't...read this scroll down to the bottom and ask yourself, do gays really want to deal with crap like this??

please pass this on!! Everyone needs to know and think about with marriage comes divorce!

Steve Krotz said...

Thanks for the comment and link Chaz. I read that and agree - you're right. Although its intent was a good one, it's a grossly unfair, poorly written and poorly thought out piece of legislation.

However, the other 1000+ partner benefits and safeguards that legalized gay marriage would guarantee by far outweighs the legal glitches of unfortunate legislation like that.