And now it goes down to the wire. At a little passed noon on 31 March, S.115 passed the House Judiciary committee 8-2-1. That is, eight votes for, two against, one absent. Seven Democrats and one Republican voted for the bill and two Republicans voted against it. If it passes the full House, Governor Jim Douglas has vowed to veto it; however, if this does go down largely partisan lines, the Democrats and Progressives may have enough votes to pass it with enough to override Governor Douglas’ promised veto.
What is perplexing is that one of those who voted against it, the Republican representative from Pittsford, VT, actually stated that she “would be happier with the state getting out of the marriage business all together. We could grant any two people who want to be financially responsible for each other all the legal benefits and obligations.” Representative Margaret Flory explained that she had been physically and verbally accosted by a same-sex marriage supporter and that she was ashamed about how both sides had behaved in this debate. Flory may have voted this way largely due to her district. Pittsford, which is located between Rutland City and Brandon, is a fairly conservative town. The other vote against the bill came from Representative Andrew Donaghy of Poultney, which is another largely conservative town in Rutland County.
The absent representative, Patti Komline, Republican, of Dorset, states that she does support the bill and will be there for the final vote.
The final bill will be voted on either Thursday or Friday of this week after the budget bill is debated and voted upon. It is expected to pass, but the question is whether or not it will pass with enough votes to override Governor Douglas’ veto.
It should be noted that those correspondences coming from outside the state are being trashed routinely by the Representatives. It goes back to something that Governor Thomas P. Salmon supposedly said in the 1970′s. Salmon, who served as Governor from 1973 until 1977, is suppose to have asked Vermonters ‘who do you want me to be governor of, the million and a half who are here on Washington’s Birthday, or the half a million who are here for mud season?’ Vermonters are a proud, independent lot who have taken a look at the battle over Prop 8, and all but the most hardened of same-sex marriage opponents have stated that this is a Vermont issue and it will stay a Vermont issue. Despite claims of outside influence, those who have testified so far are Vermonters, and those who are being listened to are Vermonters.
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Bridget “Sei” McBride is a trans-lesbian who lives in Vermont and has a strong passion for LGBTI rights. She has a BA in History and her hobbies include sci-fi, anime, fantasy, action movies, video games, and more. Currently, she is working on her MA in Individualized Studies at Goddard College. Her specialization is in cultural history and cultural comparison.