Legislature, Not Court, Brings Gay Marriage to Vt.

By Teddy Davis

Apr 7, 2009 12:18pm

ABC News’ Teddy Davis reports: Vermont’s legislature voted Tuesday to legalize same-sex marriage by overriding the veto of Republican Gov. Jim Douglas. 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 legislative body had to vote for the override. Vermont is not the first state to adopt same-sex marriage. But it is the first state to adopt same-sex marriage through non-judicial means. While Vermont is more liberal than many other states, Tuesday’s vote is significant nationally because of the way in which it changes the contours of the debate. Up until now, opponents of same-sex marriage have been able to buttress religious- and tradition-based arguments with attacks on judicial over-reaching. For example, when Iowa’s Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last week, Tony Perkins, the president of the conservative Family Research Council, issued a statement saying that same-sex marriage "continues to be a movement driven by a liberal judicial elite determined to destroy not only the institution of marriage, but democracy as well." This sweeping indictment of the "liberal judicial elite" was based, in part, on the fact that the three states which currently recognize same-sex marriage — Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa — all got there through court decree. A fourth state — California — also adopted same-sex marriage after a decision of the state’s Supreme Court. On two occasions, in 2005 and 2007, California’s legislature passed a same-sex marriage bill but the legislation was vetoed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the bill’s proponents did not have the two-thirds vote necessary to override the veto. In Vermont, same-sex marriage is now law through a vote of the people’s representatives.

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus