By Elvin, John
Insight on the News , Vol. 16, No. 38
There is an old saying that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. In activist theory, this often is true. A clamor raised by gays and lesbians in Vermont, for instance, resulted in legislation allowing civil unions between persons of the same sex. Without getting hung up on the fine points, it's fair to say that state legislators voted to legalize gay marriages, and Democratic Gov. Howard Dean signed the bill into law.
There's another old saying, somewhat contradicting the aforementioned "squeaky" one, that the mosquito that buzzes loudest gets swatted first. Well, six Republican legislators who jumped on the gay-marriage bandwagon got swatted in the recent state primary. Gov. Dean is facing a duel in the upcoming election with GOP challenger Ruth Dwyer of the "Take Back Vermont" protest movement that wants to dump the civil-union law. Dean had a favorability rating of 63 percent in February, before all the ruckus started. A recent Burlington Free Press poll put his rating at 41 percent.
Vermont used to be an interesting mix of rural old-line New England freethinkers in the spirit of Henry David Thoreau and the Transcendentalists and urban socialist radicals descended from the labor movements of the 1920s and 1930s. …