April 7th, 2009
11:55 AM ET
5 years ago

Vermont House, Senate override veto on same-sex marriage

Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas had vetoed a bill to allow same-sex marriage in his state.
Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas had vetoed a bill to allow same-sex marriage in his state.

(CNN) – Vermont's House and Senate voted Tuesday to override the governor's veto of a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.

The Senate voted 23-5 to override Gov. Jim Douglas' veto, according to the Senate office. Shortly afterward, the House overrode the veto on a 100-49 vote. The votes surpassed the number needed - two-thirds of those present - to override the veto.

The action makes Vermont the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriages. The others are Massachusetts, Connecticut and, as of last week, Iowa.

Douglas vetoed the bill on Monday. "Vermont's civil union law has afforded the same state rights, responsibilities and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples," the governor wrote in a letter to David Gibson, secretary of the Senate. "Our civil union law serves Vermont well and I would support congressional action to extend those benefits at the federal level to states that recognize same sex unions. But I believe that marriage should remain between a man and a woman."


Filed under: Same-sex marriage • Vermont
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. Lizzie

    I am so proud of Vermont and Iowa! They have both recently come to the side of treating gay men and women as human beings instead of second class citizens! It brings tears to my eyes to see the equality we have always deserved playing out! 4 down, 46 to go! Let's make marriage legal for everyone! Leave religion out of it! Nobody is asking to be married by the church, they want the LEGAL rights that are granted with marraige. I can't understand the hate in this country. Maybe the divorce rate wouild be lower if people spent more time focused on their marraige and less time focusing on stoppping others from getting married.

    April 7, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  2. Brian Crooks

    April 7th, 2009 11:37 am ET

    Marriage is between man and woman. Period! The first two people on Earth were Adam & Eve. Man & woman. Not Adam and James, or Lisa and Mary.
    =================
    This applies to religious marriage, which differs by culture. For example, in the Old Testament it wasn't rare for a man to have multiple wives or for a father to sell his daughter. That doesn't mean that we should adopt those laws for our country. This vote applies to secular marriage. The actual act of attaining a marriage license with all the legal wranglings that come with it. As I stated before, this will not require churches to perform religious ceremonies for same-sex couples.

    April 7, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. Diane

    I'm very proud of Vermont's Legislature for doing the right thing. Not so proud of the governor who originally vetoed the bill. Go Vermont!

    April 7, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Franklin

    I am not sure what this Country has become over the past couple years. Same sex marriage should always be between a man and woman because that is how God (our creator) intended it to be in the first place.

    April 7, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. Brian GA

    To "concerned".

    If the purpose of marriage is to procreate and raise children, then was it immoral when my grandmother remarried? She and her new husband will not be having any children. Is their marriage wrong and immoral? So only child bearing aged heterosexuals can marry?

    April 7, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. Seer

    The end is nigh. Economic crisis is only the beginning.

    April 7, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. Kate

    John said: "I find it interesting and sad that some people believe that rights can be voted on. The right to marry is inherent and inalienable. Any law, be it by the majority of the people or other means that denies a right is an illigetimate law."

    Which is exactly what the Iowa ruling said. When same-sex marriage is considered under constitutional law (and thus Equal Protection), it HAS to be allowed.

    The unforigiveable horror is when it's put to a popular vote, otherwise known as, "hey, let's legislate everyone's personal bigotries into laws everyone must follow!"

    April 7, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  8. Objective Thinking

    I really think the government should have NO laws concerning marriage. The government has no business caring who gets married, and therefore should not treat you differently (via taxes or otherwise) just because you are married.

    April 7, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. Jeffrey in Georgia

    This is fantastic news. A real step for the equality and tolerance that is necessary if we are to remain a free society.

    April 7, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. Lawrence

    Seriously, how does allowing two consenting adults – of the same sex – have any effect at all on anyone else's marriage?

    My wife and I were married in a civil ceremony (outside of the church) – but that doesn't make our union any less official than anyone who was married in the church (and anyone who gets married still needs to get a certificate from the "government" approving it).

    It really bothers me that some people have such a hatred for anything different – and make the exact same arguments that people made fifty years ago about interracial marriage.

    April 7, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. Dylan Frendt, Pennslyvania

    It is inconceivable to me that people of previous generations, biased and narrow minded as a majority can be, feel as though the matter at hand should be their decision.

    I am seventeen years old and I have sat back and watched teenagers discuss and agree upon this issue in a more mature fashion than "adults."

    This matter is cut and dry. We are ALL protected under the Constitution. We are ALL equal in America.

    So please, my right-wing conservative religo-publicans who feel as though their ignorance should dictate the country...leave your arrogance at the door, shut your mouths, and move on.

    Your time of BS. excuses running our country is, day by day, coming to an end.

    April 7, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. JPM

    To mike b: You have the right to continue raising your children in a "traditional environment", but that envionment is in your own home, you have no right to demand that the State or Federal Government arbitrarily discriminate based on arbitrary demographic details.

    From the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Federal Constitution, Section 1:
    "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; NOR DENY TO ANY PERSON WITHIN ITS JURISDICTION THE EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAWS"

    April 7, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. Brian

    For the most part, people are "free" to do as they see fit and speak their minds... Those who oppose same-sex "marriage" are not filled with hatred... Just don't call it marriage and don't expect and demand that everyone like it.

    April 7, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. Rob Johnson

    Around ten years ago, I had this conversation with a lesbian activist friend of mine.

    Her: We need to have the same marriage rights as everyone else. It's only fair.
    Me: I see your point, but as long as you use the word "marriage" you are going to have problems. If I were you, I'd put my efforts towards getting civil unions nationwide and avoid the word "marriage."
    Her: We just want the same rights everyone else has!
    Me: I get that, but trust me, if you avoid the word "marriage' you will get what you want. Inheritance rights, child custody, etc. If you insist on calling it "marriage" people will fight to the death to stop you.

    April 7, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. matt p

    mike b, where exactly are you given the right to 'raise your child in a traditional environment?' I don't recall seeing that one anywhere.

    The times: they are a-changin'. Get over it, and just live and let live.

    April 7, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. JPM

    To concerned:
    Actually the point of Traditional Marriage, in the broad, world-wide actual historical sense, was nothing but an arrangd business transaction between families where the woman was essentially sold to a man. And as far as the actual "traditional marriage" world-wide, that meant one man, many women throughout most of history.

    I'd say it's not a bad thing we've progressed past that to the point that Marriage is actually about two people committing to each other in Love rather than having it be a business transaction, don't you?

    April 7, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  17. straight in colorado

    That tired old chestnut about having kids keeps coming up in this discussion. I had a vasectomy in '73. After the divorce, should I not have been permitted to marry, again, in '98? I can't have kids, but no one complained about my marriage. By the way, our marriage of 10 years isn't threatened at all by whether or not gays have the same rights. It's a bigoted argument. What's wrong with the radical, religious right?

    April 7, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  18. rodlang

    Polygamy is next. Those polygamist sects in Utah and Texas will soon be legal.

    April 7, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. Adam in TX

    As a Christian I fully support marriage equality. I think there is nothing wrong or immoral about two loving individuals wanting to take a vow to be faithful to each other and share a life together. I wish more of my fellow brethren felt the way I do. Thank you Vermont for moving us one step closer to being the nation of equal opportunity we claim to be.

    April 7, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  20. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    Yeah, it is natural for personal relations to be between males and females.

    But nature doesn't always cooperate with that situation when some people are not attracted to the opposite sex but are to their own.

    Marriage, on the other hand, is a human-designed state, mostly evolving from religious beliefs. Being religious is not a requirement for marriage. All it takes is a civil paper and I don't think it even requires any kind of "ceremony."

    My thinking is that those who don't agree on who is attached to another in a legal document should just butt out. If you don't like it, don't do it.

    Now get back to work!

    April 7, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  21. Jack

    For all of those celebrating this right now, this is a bad day for state's rights. The union moniker should have stood on it's own, especially since it was granting the same rights. This forces other states to recognize something that violates their own constitution. The only winners in this will be, as usual, the lawyers.

    April 7, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  22. Liberal Democrat

    I agree with the Governor.

    I don't want to stone the gays but "MARRIAGE" is a religious, not legal, sacrament. Give them their legal rights under Civil unions.

    This is not like racial descrimination (or resistance to interracial sex / marriages). Nobody in the 40's, 50's, 60's was saying to give those people their "legal rights".

    Gays wrapping themselves in the, "this-is-just-like-equal-rights-for-blacks" flag is not a genuine argument.

    April 7, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  23. KDR

    Bravo Vermont, sans Governor. I concur with the assessment of our posters who say that government should stay out of the marriage business. By separating the two – the legal status of being "in a union" and the religious connotations ascribed by a denomination or congregation to "marriage" – we could avoid 80% of this issue altogether. Polls seem to show that Americans aren't supportive as a majority of denying other Americans basic rights like hospital visitation, inheritance, and tax status. Let the churches decide against whom to discriminate; let the government get out of the discrimination business altogether.

    April 7, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    @ Frank Taylor, who said "Just because a state passes one small piece of sensible legislation doesn't make America a free country by any stretch of the imagination."

    Every single little baby step is a reason for continued hope.

    April 7, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. DigDug

    This is AWESOME!! Even better, this wasn't a court decision, now what are the bigots gonna' complain about, that the legislators were "legislating"!? This law was approved DIRECTLY from the ELECTED representatives. FANTASTIC!!!

    And yet another domino falls – SWEET!!!

    April 7, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
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