Vermont’s Senate Judiciary Committee is currently holding hearings on a proposed bill that will grant full marriage rights to same-sex couples. Thus expanding their current domestic partnership laws. Of course there are already out cries that Vermont will be sucked into a vortex of evil, simply for thinking about giving us deviant queers rights.
So, here I am on vacation. Laying out by the lake… watching the strapping boys from the Yale Rowing Crew at Lake Lure, NC… Thank you Jesus! When I get a phone call from a friend, Tom.
Tom: I know you are on vaca… but we need your help.
Me: Come on dude… Can’t this wait. I’ll be home in like 2 days?
Yale: Row…2.3.4. Row…2.3.4 Row…
Tom: Well it’ll be over by then.
Me: Fine! What is it? (As I put my drink down and put my robe on… giving the Yale boys one last glance…
Turns out that the debate that has been rumbling in the Vermont Legislation has heated up. The proposed bill (S.115, An Act Relating to Civil Marriage) is now in it’s final stages of debate in the Senate Judiciary Committee. I was both shocked and dismayed. Before I left on my VACATION I was reasonably sure that this debate would get tabled. At least until the next session.
Since the folks in Vermont are pushing so hard, both pro and anti, the debate has spiraled and no one can stop the train. It will come to a vote and it will be decide on. Immediately!
Here’s what you need to know. The bill aims to abolish their current law allowing Domestic Partnerships in favor of removing the all gender specific wording from all other current marriage laws. Giving equal rights and protections to all of Vermont. (link to the full text of the bill below)
What are people so pissed about. Beats the hell out of me, I’m sure they would like to btw ;). The only argument is one of a religious nature. Which shouldn’t matter. Just because your God doesn’t think it’s ok doesn’t give you the legal right to make it law. Otherwise these people would have won their fight over slavery, inter racial marriage and women’s rights. The other argument is that this type of act infringes, somehow on their freedom of religion. Again I have no logical idea as to why they think this. But to make damn sure that their religious rights are not being stepped on… the bill includes a section stating that no church or priest is required to preform a same-sex marriage or be forced to allow it in their church. There, problem solved, right?
The thing that gets me is the people crying out against this bill are the same people that cried foul over Vermont passing the DP laws. They were just convinced it would destroy “traditional” marriage and pull families apart. Nothing like that happened. Straight people still fell in love and got married. People are still building strong families. So, shut up!
Beth Robinson, board chair of Vermont’s Freedom to Marry Task Force (VFMTF), said in an interview with tv station WCAX, “It’s just hard for me to imagine that anybody would think that recognizing and respecting their lifetime partnership takes anything away from anybody else.”
If anything Vermont has shown that these arguments that are used time and time again are just goat spit. Vermont has even commissioned a study to see what the impact on families are after the passage of their DP laws. That information will be shared by the Commission during the hearing before the Judiciary Committee. (link to the report below)
Also, Remember the NY Times ran that article talking about the differences between same-sex and heterosexual couples? It showed that same-sex couples were more apt to stay together longer, develop deeper understanding of each other and communicate more often and better than their straight counterparts. Basically… we are more likely to be happier longer.
There is also a study done by the Williams Institute of UCLA which clearly shows the economic gains that are likely to occur for Vermont if they pass this bill allowing full marriage equality. (link to the study below)
So, what can you do to help? Well first you should send an email to Vermont’s Governor, Jim Douglas. Telling him that elected officials are able to multi task. They can focus on the economy and the other issues important to the people around the state. If they truly can’t do this… maybe they should be recalled. (He said that this issue wasn’t important and that the legislation should focus solely on the economy.)
Maybe, take a look at who’s on the Judiciary Committee and send them your thoughts or look at the schedule for this bill. You can share them in person tonight at the Capitol There will be a public hearing there, signups to speak start at 5pm and run till 6:30pm, So sign-up early.
You can also go to Vermont’s Freedom to Marry Task Force to get more information on who to call/email and what to say. How to organize an information party, to spread the word. Plus other ideas including making a donation to keep the fight going.
What the other bloggers are saying:
Do you think that the actions of VFMTF are the best method for achieving marriage equality? How about the religious freedom argument, do you get it? Please help me with this one.