Nine years after it became the first state to approve civil unions, Vermont becomes the first state to enact gay marriage legislatively. With just one vote to spare, the Vermont state legislature has overridden the governor's veto of a gay marriage bill. The state house voted 100-49 and the state senate voted 23-5. You can find a roll call for the override vote in the state house here. I previously wrote about the significance of this development here.
The text of the house bill is here. It reads, in part:
Sec. 3. 15 V.S.A. § 8 is amended to read:
§ 8. MARRIAGE DEFINITION
Marriage is the legally recognized union of
one man and one womantwo people. Gender-specific terms relating to the marital relationship or familial relationships, including without limitation “spouse,” “family,” “marriage,” “immediate family,” “dependent,” “next of kin,” “bride,” “groom,” “husband,” “wife,” “widow,” and “widower,” shall be construed to be gender-neutral for all purposes throughout the law, whether in the context of statute, administrative or court rule, policy, common law, or any other source of civil law.
Italics indicate added languague.
Getting two-thirds of each house of the state legislature to approve gay marriage is a much more impressive feat, in my view, than getting even a unanimous vote from a state supreme court, as occurred in Iowa just four days ago. Congratulations to the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force and everyone in the state who spent the last nine years organizing, raising money, and lobbying legislators first to defend the state's civil unions and then to push for full marriage.
The marriages start on September 1.