What a last few days! First Iowa and then Vermont. The important thing about Vermont is that this happened, not through the courts, but through legislation. Shap Smith, Speaker of the Vermont House, is quoted in Newsweek as saying, ” People here have seen what it looks like and realized it doesn’t harm anybody.”
John Nichols reported in the Nation
While progress in Iowa came via the judicial route, and is likely to spark ongoing political struggles, the victory in Vermont was a political one that comes at the culmination of a long struggle in a state that nine years ago was the first in the nation to authorize civil unions for same-sex couples.
The final stage of that struggle came on Tuesday, after Republican Governor Jim Douglas had vetoed legislation allowing gays and lesbians to marry.
To override the veto, supporters of the legislation needed to muster two-thirds of the vote in the state House and Senate.
They did that with relative ease.
The vote in the House was 100 to 49 in favor of overriding the veto and enacting what was dubbed “An Act to Protect Religious Freedom and Promote Equality in Civil Marriage.”
The vote in the Senate was an even more lopsided 23-5.
Democrats, who control both chambers, Republicans, independents and members of the state’s Progressive Party — members of which have long championed marriage rights — all voted for the override.
NPR has a great interactive map showing the progress of marriage equality.
As Bob Dylan once wrote, “the times they are a-changin'”.