22 Democrats & 4 Republicans voted YES
1 Democrat & 3 Republicans voted NO
MONTPELIER — The Vermont Senate voted 26-4 in favor of same-sex marriage Monday, giving the measure greater support than many expected.
“I resolved this yesterday,” said Sen. Matt Choate, a freshman Democrat from Caledonia County.
Choate said he balanced all the arguments and finally focused on the Constitution, the document he had sworn to uphold. Civil unions, created in 2000 to offer same-sex couples the same rights as married couples, did not succeed in providing full equality, he said. “There really was no other way to vote.”
Sen. Phil Scott, R-Washington, said he didn’t know how he was going to vote when he walked into the Senate chamber Monday afternoon, but made up his mind while listening to the debate. “I said if I’m going to err on one side or the other, I would err on the side of basic human rights.”
Scott said he was taken by the arguments Campbell made for the bill. Campbell sought to counteract arguments that had been made against it, including what he called the “they” factor.
“You know who those ‘they’ people are? They’re our policemen, our firefighters, our teachers, garbagemen, the guy who plows the street. They’re our children. Our sisters, brothers, they’re human beings, and as such, as it’s said in this bill, they should be treated equally,” Campbell said.
Even as he argued for a public referendum, Sen. Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland, supported the bill and said he thought Vermonters would vote for same-sex marriage in a statewide vote.
The bill faces another vote in the Senate today before going to the House. The House Judiciary Committee is expected to begin taking testimony today. The bill is expected to pass the House, but faces an uncertain future when it reaches Gov. Jim Douglas. He said he opposes the bill but hasn’t said whether he will veto it.