Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"A Great Day for Equality"

The Vermont Legislature on Tuesday overrode Gov. Jim Douglas’s veto of a bill allowing gay couples to marry, mustering exactly enough votes to preserve the measure.

The step makes Vermont the first state to allow same-sex marriage through legislative action instead of a court ruling.

The outcome in the House of Representatives, 100 to 49, was not clear until the final moments of a long roll call, when Rep. Jeff Young, a Democrat who voted against the bill last week, reversed his position. After the final tally, cheers erupted in both legislative chambers of the State House and in the hallways outside, and several lawmakers on both sides of the debate looked stunned.

“It’s a great day for equality,” said Margaret Cheney, a democrat and state representative from Norwich, Vt. “People saw this as an equality issue, and we’re proud that Vermont has led the way without a court order to provide equal benefits.”