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Vermont Legalizes Gay Marriage Over Governor's Veto

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By Javier Lavagnino, Esq. on April 07, 2009 12:14 PM

Vermont has become the fourth state to legalize gay marriage after its House barely overcame Governor Jim Douglas's bill veto in a 100-49 vote (the Senate's vote was not close, 23-5).

Governor Douglas felt that there were other things that should have been taking up the government's time, "What really disappoints me is that we have spent some time on an issue during which another thousand Vermonters have lost their jobs...We need to turn out attention to balancing a budget without raising taxes, growing the economy, putting more people to work." He added that the law would not improve gay and lesbians' situation because it gives them no rights under federal laws or the laws of other states. However, gay marriage supporters were elated, with some indicating they finally felt equal to other couples.

Supporters of the bill had to work hard to garner the necessary vote-count because the bill had originally passed by only a 95-52 margin, which would not be enough to override a veto.

One Democrat, Jeff Young, who was convinced to support the bill explained that his reasoning was more political than philosophical:

"You realize that, you know, it's a poker game in some ways," Young said. "Chips on the table. I'm a freshman. I have no chips. If I ... had 20 years of chips, I probably could play any card I want. I don't have that option."

He added, "It's the way the political game is played."

Laws legalizing gay marriage continue to be considered in other New England states such as Maine and New Hampshire.

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