Governor of Vermont Vetoes Human Rights Bill; Legislature Overrides.7 April, 2009
Vermont just became the first state in the union to legalize gay marriage via the legislature, rather than the courts. After the Republican (big surprise) governor vetoed the legislation (he claimed that, in this economic climate, it would be a ‘distraction’):
The Legislature voted Tuesday to override Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto of a bill allowing gays and lesbians to marry. The vote was 23-5 to override in the state Senate and 100-49 to override in the House. Under Vermont law, two-thirds of each chamber had to vote for override. (From the Burlington Free Press)
Bravo Vermont. Ain’t human rights wonderful.
In Iowa, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, gay marriage came about through the state’s supreme courts. Of course, this lead to an outcry from the religious right decrying the actions of the ‘liberal activist judges.’ In California, the courts found that all citizens are entitled to the same rights (you know, as in human rights?) including the right to marriage; then the citizens of California, with a lot of propaganda from various conservative churches, decided that they coulddeny rights to a small portion of the population. Now Vermont has recognized human rights via the state legislature. Do any of ya’ll suppose that the Christian right will now be asking the Vermont courts to overturn this legislation? Of course, then it wouldn’t be activist judges, it would be godly judges.
So why did they have to override the governor’s veto?
Gov. Jim Douglas, who vetoed legislation, said, “I prepared myself for this outcome and predicted it. The outcome was not unexpected.”
He had called the issue of gay marriage a distraction during a time when economic and budget issues were more important.
“What really disappoints me is that we have spent some time on an issue during which another thousand Vermonters have lost their jobs,” the governor said Tuesday. “We need to turn out attention to balancing a budget without raising taxes, growing the economy, putting more people to work.”
I would love to know what (if anything) was put to the side so that this issue could be considered? And what (if anything) was pushed to the side to override the veto? I do, however, admire* an elected official who considers human rights for state citizens to be a distraction.
*Admire as in admire his gall and chutzpah.