One amazing night.

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    Apr 03, 2009 10:49 AM GMT
    First, sorry if anyone is reading this thread hoping to hear some wild sexual exploits of debauchery. Nothing so titillating, but something much more important - human rights - OUR rights.

    Some of you have been following my postings on the fight for marriage equality here in Vermont. In 2000, Vermont became the first state to pass Civil Union legislation. It divided the state, cause a lot of anguish and anger, much like Prop. 8 in California last November. Seventeen legislators lost their seats in the next election, 16 of those due to supporting the legislation, 1 for opposing.
    Now it is 2009, and "we" have spent 9 years educating the members of the General Assembly and the public about real equality and why it is important.
    Last week the Vermont Senate passed marriage equality legislation 26-4. Two days later, the republican governor broke all precedence and announced (before the legislation was completed) his intention to veto the bill. The greatly raised the bar. Now, a 2/3rd majority will be needed to override his veto and make the bill law.
    Yesterday the bill was brought up in the House. Work on the budget was completed by mid-afternoon, and the next 6 hours were dedicated to the debating marriage equality.
    The gallery was packed with marriage equality supporters. The anti-equality crowd had their rally outside earlier that day.
    I was able to get a seat on the floor of the House (ordinary citizens are allowed to do that here) to listen and follow the debate. Sometimes during breaks, legislators would come over to talk to us. The debate lasted well into the night. Speaker after speaker rose, often speaking very emotionally. All 4 of the openly gay House members spoke, sometimes having to pause as the emotion over came them. Many members openly wept as they heard Jason Lorber (D) speak of his Jewish wedding to his husband, of making breakfast for their son.
    Another openly gay legislator, Steve Howard (D) said: "I stand because nobody should feel ashamed of who God made them," he said. "I am not ashamed. I am proud. This existing law of civil unions, of separate but equal, makes me feel less than a full human. This isn't for the benefit of those in the gay and lesbian community, it's important to those who are straight, and parents of gay children...and children of gay parents."
    One Republican representative, who voted against Civil Unions in 2000, spoke of how he has listened, and learned, and now he supported full equality and would vote yes.
    One older representative, Albert "Sonny" Audette (D), rose to apologize for his vote. He said, "My religion at this point would not want me to vote for this. I wish that I could and I hope for the best and I congratulate the people who are trying to get this through." He is a devout Catholic.
    Only 1 speaker, a Republican, brought out the worn out old lines about this being dangerous, how it discriminates against him (yuh, I don't get that part either), how we owe our liberties to Jesus Christ, well, you get the picture.
    Many legislators turned away or looked at the floor as he spoke.
    Many speakers told about meetings with constituents. One Republican said that a young man came to his door asking him to support the bill, and as soon as he left a woman called begging him to oppose it. He read a letter he received from a fellow Republican who lost his Senate seat in 2000, after supporting the Civil Union bill. It said in part, that it was all worth it, and if he could do it again, he would. That legislator said he would vote Yes on the bill.
    About 9:00 PM. the roll call began. Final vote was 95 YES - 52 NO
    Only 5 Republicans votes in favor. Eleven Democrats opposed the bill.

    The bill has a final vote in the House today (Third Reading), then goes back to the Senate, to consider the amendments made by the House. The governor is expected to veto the bill, probably next Tuesday. Override attempts will be made shortly after.
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    Apr 03, 2009 1:14 PM GMT
    http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/84591/
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    Apr 03, 2009 1:19 PM GMT
    Doesn't this vote outcome mean they won't be able to subsequently override the Republican Governor's veto? It's been a great battle, and thanks for your efforts and "in the trenches" reporting, but doesn't look good.
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    Apr 03, 2009 1:34 PM GMT
    Red_Vespa saidDoesn't this vote outcome mean they won't be able to subsequently override the Republican Governor's veto? It's been a great battle, and thanks for your efforts and "in the trenches" reporting, but doesn't look good.


    No. That part is not a given. There are at least 2 Democrats who voted no on the bill, who said they would vote to override. There may be more - that is unknown. There may also be some who voted for it, but may now vote to uphold the veto. VFTM is still working to change votes. It will all come down to 1 or 2 votes next week.
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    Apr 03, 2009 1:53 PM GMT
    My daughter lives and works in Vermont, from what she tells me, its amazing how open minded people are there. God I hope this is finally approved in spite of a veto. Thanks for telling us about this and the best of luck !!!
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    Apr 03, 2009 1:57 PM GMT
    If she could contact her legislators and either thank them for supporting the bill or ask them please vote to override the veto, that would be great.
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    Apr 03, 2009 2:02 PM GMT
    OutdoorMutt saidIf she could contact her legislators and either thank them for supporting the bill or ask them please vote to override the veto, that would be great.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>I'll call her and mention (urge) her to do that !!!
  • Little_Spoon

    Posts: 1562

    Apr 03, 2009 2:09 PM GMT
    You owe me one erotic story.
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    Apr 03, 2009 2:13 PM GMT
    DanielH saidYou owe me one erotic story.


    LOL - I'm working on it.
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    Apr 03, 2009 2:39 PM GMT
    realifedad said
    OutdoorMutt saidIf she could contact her legislators and either thank them for supporting the bill or ask them please vote to override the veto, that would be great.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>I'll call her and mention (urge) her to do that !!!


    Oh, and if she has friends who could do that also, it would be much appreciated. This will come down to 1 or 2 votes in the end. It is that close now. Thanks for your help.
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    Apr 03, 2009 3:02 PM GMT
    A few photos from last evening.

    1) From my seat, during a recess
    2) From balcony, during the recess
    3) From balcony, during the debate.

    house_1.jpg

    house_2.jpg

    house_3.jpg