by Peter Freyne
Yours truly was the only member of the Fourth Estate to show up this noon at the Sheraton to catch our Governor as he was on hand to address a VSAC luncheon.
And it paid off in more ways than one. I got the scoop!
"Yesterday," said Gov. Jim Douglas, "I celebrated 32 years of wedded bliss."
"You did? To the same woman?" I asked.
"And I’m signing up for another 32!' he told us in our exclusive in the hotel lobby.
I didn't know about Jimbo's wedding anniversary when I went to see him today, but I did have a "sex" question on my list.
This morning's Freeps reported GOP Jim had on Tuesday - three days ago - quietly signed into law S. 51, a landmark human rights bill. The new law prohibits discrimination in Vermont based on "gender identity."
I asked the Guv why the gubernatorial signing of such an historic piece of human rights legislation didn't make his public schedule?
DOUGLAS: I sign most bills without going on the schedule. It’s the exception that they are when there’s an invitation or a reason to have a ceremony, but the vast majority of bills are signed [in private].
Q. Are you proud you signed it?
DOUGLAS: Obviously, last year, I vetoed it on the recommendation of the Human Rights Commission which is charged with enforcing it. They didn’t feel it was enforceable. So over the last year I’ve met with members of the transgendered community, the Human Rights Commission has, and we’ve made changes that will make it work. Vermonters don’t want to discriminate, but there is a lot of controversy over that.
Q. You getting flack for it?
DOUGLAS: There’s some people who have expressed their opposition, so I frankly didn’t feel the need for a signing event.
Q. Because it’s controversial? I can write that because it’s a touchy, controversial issue, the governor did not have a signing ceremony?
DOUGLAS: Yes, I guess. I’m not sure the advocates asked for one frankly. I don’t know. I think that’s true...I don’t recall that they did.
Remember when Democrat Howard Dean signed the landmark Civil Unions Bill in the closet, too?