Vermont Joins Iowa In Support of Same-Sex Marriage

The victories keep on coming for advocates of gay marriage! I was clearly too pessimistic when I blogged last week about the state of Vermont. Although I was thrilled to see the Vermont House had joined the Senate in passing the gay marriage bill, it looked likely that Vermont’s Republican governor, Jim Douglas, who opposed the bill and called it a “distraction”, would veto it when it reached his desk. As of last week it wasn’t clear there were enough votes to override his veto.

Well, I’m glad to say I was wrong. Yesterday morning the Vermont Legislature did in fact override Douglas’s veto. As I mentioned last week, this makes it the first state to allow same-sex marriage through legislative action instead of a court ruling. The law will go into effect on September 1, 2009.

Approval of the bill in the Senate was expected (the vote was 23 to 5), but the outcome in the House of Representatives was a little less clear, until Rep. Jeff Young, a Democrat who had originally voted against the bill last week, reversed his position. In the end, the vote was 100 to 40, which was just enough of the required two-thirds majority to approve the bill.

Vermont’s historic decision comes on the heels of the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling that not permitting gay marriage is unconstitutional and makes Vermont the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we are blogging about the fifth state.