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March 13, 2009


In two separate stories published by The Advocate, same-sex marriage rights in Vermont got a double dose of support.

Mental Health Experts Endorse Same-Sex Marriage...
On March 10th, The Advocate reported that leading mental health and human services organizations in Vermont, citing professional studies that show legalizing gay marriage helps the children of same-sex couples, came out in support of marriage equality.

The group says allowing gay couples to marry validates their relationships, could reduce discrimination and increases benefits for the families.

Opponents have argued that gay marriage is detrimental to children. But mental health experts say studies show that's not true and that opponents are instead misrepresenting studies about divorced parents.

In an interview on WCAX-TV in Burlington, Jackie Weinstein of the University of Vermont’s Human Development and Families Studies said:

"We felt it was important for us to set the record straight about the scholarly literature in our field, and we have lots of different families and the best thing to do for all children is to support parents the best way we can."

The Vermont legislature is currently considering a same-sex marriage bill that was introduced in February. The bill has 59 sponsors in the house and next week, the senate judiciary committee will begin holding hearings and testimony.

The mental health and human services organizations - which include Vermont Psychological Association, the Vermont Psychiatric Association, the Vermont Association of Mental Health Counselors, and the Vermont chapter of the National Association of Social Workers - will all testify in support of same-sex marriage at those hearings.

In 2000 Vermont became the first state to pass civil unions but, in the nine years since, there have been numerous problems with businesses, hospitals and even government agencies recognizing the legality of those unions.

Let's face it folks - separate will NEVER be equal.

On March 12th, The Advocate reported that 182 Vermont clergy members representing nine religious denominations have signed a declaration in support of same-sex marriage in Vermont.

Their declaration reads, in part,

“As religious people, clergy, and leaders, we commit ourselves to public action, visibility, and education to support the right and freedom of same-gender couples to participate in civil marriage. We oppose the application of sacred texts and religious traditions for the purpose of denying legal and social equity to same-gender couples.

We recognize that a separate system that legally recognizes same-gender couples creates a harmful stigma for those we support and love in our community. Although civil union protections have remedied some of the financial and legal inequities, the denial to participate in the status of civil marriage is a social injustice that fractures our communities, harms those we love and sends a message of government sanctioned discrimination."

To read the whole declaration, go to: http://eqfed.org/campaign/declaration

Hopefully, this kind of strong support from both the professional and religious communities will help convince Vermont lawmakers to finally pass full marriage equality.

I personally think it will.