Vermont Legislature Overrides Gov's Veto On Same-Sex Marriage!

This happened about 3 minutes ago! The Vermont legislature, Senate and House, has overridden Gov. Douglas’s veto on the same-sex marriage law!

The vote in the House was 100-46. It was expected to be close to the margin, and it was…they needed 100 votes to override.

So, what does this portend? Two states within the same week approving same-sex marriage by two different methods (judicial and legislative), both (I’m sure) are going to have to fight off state constitutional amendment attempts by disgruntled neanderthals.

Is this the year we’ll look back on and consider “the crack in the dam”? Are we gaining momentum? Or will the forces of darkness be energized by this and gather force to drown us in archaic stupidity again*?

*Why, no…I’m not biased against the troglodytes at all…

Also: will Douglas be thrown out on his ass next year for vetoing this?

This is definitely a watershed event.

For years, conservatives have been blasting what they call “legislating from the bench” and using that as an excuse to pass referendums banning gay marriage. But any backlash from this Vermont decision is pure bigotry, because this is a purely democratic decision. They don’t have the idea of “judicial restraint” to hide behind as figleaf for their outrage this time. The pro-gay marriage forces won fair and square.

Go Vermont!

What do you want to bet the real troglodytes among them will still find some reason to complain about how this was done?

I know what your saying, but the pro-gay marriage forces won fair and square everywhere that has legalized gay marriage. There’s nothing unfair about winning through the courts. It might be tactically better that this comes about through the legislature, though I don’t think it will make any difference to the hate mongers. There are some people who have opposed gay marriage who won’t oppose this though, so we should be thankful for small mercies.

I wonder if Ben and Jerry will celebrate with a new ice cream flavor?

what’s the process for amending the Vermont Constitution? how difficult or easy would it be to propose an amendment along the lines of Prop 8 in California?

Oh Lordy-Loo, here come the puns. :rolleyes:


Amendments have to start in the legislature, so I suspect that its a non-starter. And happily VT doesn’t suffer from allowing the passing of laws by voter referendum like CA and other states, so gay marriage in VT is pretty much a done-deal unless opponents somehow manage to replace a big chunk of the state legislature.

Well, so long as nobody makes any “fudge packer” references, it’ll be ok. But that would be wrong!

An amendment in Vermont has to be proposed and pass with a 2/3 vote in the Senate and then a majority in the House. It then has to wait until the next legislative session and pass both houses by a majority vote. It then goes to the voters as a referendum, and it has to receive a majority vote.

Not an open-and-shut deal: if Vermont finances/economy go badly and the Dems come on strong it could become a push-over-the-edge decision factor.

The veto thing was something of an expected ritualized choreography a-la WWE, the end result of legalization of gay marriage, if not now in two more years, was never in question and Jim performed his assigned role of pretending to put up a fight. *** However***… what would have been interesting would have been, what would he have done had the measure NOT enjoyed a veto-proof majority? The Vermont Constitution establishes that while the Assembly’s in session, the governor has a 5-working-days veto window upon receiving the bill, so if he does not act one way or another in that time the bill becomes law ex propio vigore. In that kind of situation, or if his last election had been closer, would he have taken the more politically pleasant route of neither vetoing nor signing and just letting it pass by default?

When he was State Treasurer in the late 90s, he was endorsed by BOTH parties. And when meeting President Obama, he told him “Sir, I rode to victory on YOUR coat tails”. But he IS vulnerable: like I said, if in this term his performance is weak, this may break it. By itself? I’d be skeptical.
BTW: What **Simplicio **said – when the original “Civil Union” law was passed in Vermont some years back, the very next election saw a bit of turnover in the Assembly… and within two terms that itself had turned back over. So a reversal is unlikely. Not only are amendments exclusively legislative and have to be approved by two consecutive Assemblies, they can only originate every OTHER 2-year term, the one elected during the “midterm” election.

Good for Vermont. Finally a state did this the right way…

You can’t say the word troglodyte, the correct term is people who have opted for an subterranean existence.

Under rocks, mostly.

The original vote on the bill in the House was 96-52.

The override vote was 100-49.

Any word on why four Representatives switched their votes to make up the 100 vote to override the veto? or did one abstain or wasn’t present for the first vote? (total of 147 Representatives voting in the passage of the bill, 149 in the veto override.)


I have been wincing a bit at the situation in Iowa, because (like every other state in which same-sex marriage has become legal) the right result has come about through means I don’t consider “right” – or, at least, that I don’t consider optimal.

This is perfect. Not only does it become law, but it becomes law by supermajority of the legislature. THIS is how democracy should work, THIS is what being self-governed truly means, and I salute Vermont and Vermonters for this result. Well done, and may this become a model for the other forty-nine. The Green Mountain State has led the way.

If the governor’s veto had stood, why wouldn’t people call that “executive activism”? Oh, that’s right. It’s only activism when it’s judges doing their jobs.

Thanks for putting “right” in quotes. While this is certainly how a democracy should work, a legal system in a constitutional republic should also work by interpreting said constitution and ensuring the laws of the land pass constitutional muster. There’s nothing wrong about using the legal system that way (though I accept we may differ on whether laws preventing same sex marriage are constitutional or not). But this is, tactically at least, a “better” way of achieving the result.

The Ghosts of Marriage Past, Present and Future were working overtime?