Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Vermont Legislature Provides Marriage Equality for Same-Sex Couples

This morning, Vermont's legislature overruled Gov. Douglas' veto of the state's marriage equality bill, making Vermont the fourth state to legalize marriage for same-sex couples. The Pride Agenda just released the following statement by Executive Director Alan Van Capelle:

April 7, 2009—“We are thrilled that Vermont—another one of New York’s neighbors—has passed a marriage equality bill through the state legislature. Less than a week after Iowa’s Supreme Court recognized the need to recognize and protect same-sex couples and our families, more than two-thirds of Vermont’s legislature sent the same message by overriding Governor Jim Douglas’ veto.

Vermont was the first state to pass a law recognizing same-sex couples through civil unions and now becomes the first state to provide real marriage equality for same-sex couples through a vote in the state legislature. This is truly a victory for LGBT people in Vermont and across the country.

But I’m embarrassed for New York State.

We hope that our State Senate in New York will now look at three of the states that surround New York—Massachusetts, Connecticut and now Vermont—and realize that we are falling behind. Governor Paterson, Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand, every statewide official, the New York State Assembly, and a majority of New Yorkers already support passing a bill that would provide same-sex couples with the 1,324 rights and protections that come with a New York State marriage license.

Despite the prevailing wisdom that Albany is hopelessly dysfunctional, we have—time and time again over the years—proved that we can break through the gridlock and pass legislation providing equality for our community when most people thought it couldn’t be done. We are working daily with Democrats and Republicans in the State Senate and grassroots organizations across the state to make sure that we have the votes to pass a marriage bill this year. Patience is not always a virtue—our families cannot wait any longer.”

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