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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



First vote is unanimous on gay marriage

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 5-0 today to recommend that Vermont allow same-sex couples to marry.

The outcome wasn't in doubt, but the unanimity was a surprise.

Sen. Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland, put his political future on the line by voting to recommend the change in the marriage statute -- but not until he tried to delay the vote for a year so a non-binding referendum could be held next Town Meeting Day.

Mullin said many in the public feel they haven't been heard on the question.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Richard Sears, D-Bennington, opposed the referendum, saying it would invite oodles of out-of-state money and media buys. Think California, he said.

Steve Cable, one of the most outspoken opponents to the change, promised political consequences, particularly for Mullin. "I know one senator who will pay the price, he said after the vote.

Lawmakers know there could be political consequences from this vote. "That comes with the territory being the Legislature," Sears said after the vote.

Advocates of the change were cautiously optimistic. A bigger test will come Monday or Tuesday when the full Senate considers the bill. I assume someone will call for a roll call to get all 30 on the record.

I expect some among the 30 will be losing sleep this weekend and probably all will receive lots of e-mail and phone calls.

-- Nancy Remsen

Oodles of money have already come in to Vermont to support the bill. How does Dick Sears think all the TV commercials, newspaper ads, chartered busses have been paid for. His comment on opposition dollars is out of line and completely absurd.
I think the statement "oodles" is absolutely justified due to the smeer campaign ran by the mormon church and yes on 8 campaigners in California.

The last thing I want to see is televised ads on Vermont TV that reflected the very lies and hate the mormons tried to spread, and spent millions to do it.

They made it look like the lesbian and gay community were a danger to society and to children, they did not hold back any lies or slander.

The extorted, they exploited children and in the end the people who had to pay for these lies were NOT the liars, but the lesbian and gay community.

Lets not forget it is entirely unfair to place the rights of minorities to a popularity vote where the majority can be persuaded by these very lies or vote based on religious beliefs. Hence why the supreme court ruled pro interracial marriage, regardless of popular "belief".

Mullen would crush Cable in any political contest, even in Rutland. Cable's stable of votes is measured in dozens. Mullen's supporters are measured in hundreds. As a die-hard liberal, my problem is that Mullen's vote will make him unbeatable in the next few elections. We liberals were hoping for another Democratic Senator from Rutland County.
It is unfortunate, that a non-binding vote by the citizens of Vermont would or would not support gay marriage. Why is that politicans who supposedly represent us DON'T!
Thoss opposed to the passage of this bill had ample time to get their people to the Hearings to give voice to their opposition. To complain that they weren't heard when they deliberately boycotted the Hearings is just whining. They knew there weren't that many people out there fired up about the issue. What they would hope is that by a Referundum they could get enough outside help to create a false panic mentality to deliver what is not out there presently.

Gay and lesbian people have endured enough debate about their worthiness to participate as equal citizens of this democrasy. The Legislature is right to make this decision rationally and not give encouragement to the rabble rousers who would like opportunity to try to enflame the issue once again. Enough is enough. Even the Governor is opposed to delaying it. Time to vote is now.
maybe so but children did not come from same sex marriages.something is wrong with these people that the have to parade everything them do.
To Anonymous - what planet did you come from. There is nothing wrong with "these people" and you show your bigotry by making a comment like you did. We are human beings just like you and deserve to be treated just like you.
So by your logic, if someone wants to get married they are "parading everything them [sic] do" ??

Strange logic.
Whether Douglas signs the bill or allows it to become law without his signature doesn't matter. He'll still be re-elected. The far-right is not as numerous as they like to believe, just like the far-left (Progressives, GMD-type Dems).

Voters for whom gay marriage is a swing issue may stay home, but they're not going to vote for a Democrat or Progressive, IMHO.
You have got to be joking! How DARE the legislature try to force through gay marriage behind the backs of the voters? We all know why they're doing this: There isn't a snowball's chance in hell the people would vote to support gay marriage. How DARE they not at least let the people of this state they supposedly represent have their voices heard on such an important matter! Hey, they're supposed to represent all the voters, not the influential gay lobby! This flat-out sickens me. Let the people make this decision!!!
Vt is not a referendum state - plain and simple!

The only issue we vote on statewide besides elected officials are for constitutional amendments.

If you look at other states that have referendum voting, they are frankly a mess. And many of those are working to remove the referendum vote because it creates chaos.

And frankly, why would we want a "minority" civil rights issue be voted on by the "majority."
Let the people vote on this - then it will be decided once and for all.
Then why not let us vote on Vermont Yankee?

Or how about interracial marriage? How about your marriage?

Or let's all vote by referendum on which roads get paved?

Let’s all vote by referendum on the budget adjustment act! Why not?

BTW, the referendum proposed by the right wingers can only be non-binding. Under Vermont constitution, only the legislature can pass laws. So this would not settle the issue "once and for all" ... it would only prolong the process.

There are lots of other issues that need to be worked on. Let the legislature vote on this and then we can move on to other important issues.
If non-binding referendums are so good, let the people vote on:

1) Tax decrease for people earning less than $100K

2) Tax increase for people earning more than $100K

3) Gas tax increase for highways and bridges

4) Universal health care

5) Free Health Care for all

6) Wind power

7) Solar power

8) Closing Vt Yankee

9) Buying the Ct River Hydro dams

10) More highway money for towns

11) Same Day Voter registration

12) More land conserved

13) More money for public transit

14) and a chicken in every pot!
Yes - please do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We want to vote on these - then it can get done.
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