by Peter Freyne
Gay marriage supporters gathered at lunch hour Wednesday outside Montpelier’s City Hall where they announced legislation will be introduced providing full marriage rights for same-sex couples, something, they noted, our neighbors to the south in Massachusetts and to the north in Quebec have granted since Vermont’s controversial passage of the historic first-in-the-nation civil-unions law in 2000.
You remember civil unions? The law Gov. Howard Dean signed behind closed-doors. No photos were available for use by rivals in his upcoming run for the White House. Or, of course, Ho-Ho could have used them to promote his equal-rights record.
Burlington Democratic State Rep. Mark Larson (at right) is the lead sponsor of 33 in the House. Larson said he has been married to his wife since they paid a visit to city hall 20 years ago.
“We’re glad civil unions have been enacted in Vermont. But we know if we went to city hall today, we still would be treated differently than our friends and neighbors who are gay and lesbian and that’s simply not right.”
Also on hand former Republican State Rep. Tom Little of Shelburne. Little chaired the House Judiciary Committee that wrote the civil union bill. He said there are two reasons to take a look at civil unions this session.
It’s important, said Little, to revisit what he called “very momentous” pieces of legislation 6-7-8 years down the line to see if they’ve performed as expected.
“But the other reason for me,” said Little, “is I have come to believe over the last seven years that full access to marriage for gay and lesbian couples is the most fair effective and honest way of delivering the benefits of marriage to a class of people who’ve never had them before in Vermont. Now is the time to start that conversation,” he said, “to reingage.”
Also on hand Stan Baker, whose name was on the original lawsuit. Stan had the best line:
“In 2000, Vermont decided to legally recognize same-sex couples. Now it’s time to equally recognize same-sex couples.”
Yes, indeed. We have come as long way baby.
They've got a point, eh?
P.S. A few bumps in the road today. First off, I forgot my little digital camera. Readers have been so complimentary of the photos, too. They definitely add something. Sorry, guys.
And second, by chance, I bumped into two Iraq War Vets who were under the golden dome Wednesday to visit the House Speaker. They're supporting an antiwar resolution which I haven't actually seen yet. Interviewed them for about four-five minutes on tape. Figured I get a WDEV Radio story off it. Twice, I inadvertantly called them Vietnam Vets.
Showing my age?
Then when it was over and they went in to talk to Gaye Symington, I had the displeasure of discovering the "record" button had not been depressed.
Slings and arrows...