Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Behind Vermont's Closed Doors

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Behind Vermont's Closed Doors

Article excerpt

The legislature takes the marriage issue where the courts left off

When the Vermont supreme court ordered the state legislature to provide all the legal benefits to same-sex couples that accrue to married opposite-sex couples, conventional political wisdom was that lawmakers would quickly opt for a domestic-partnership plan and avoid the more controversial question of gay marriage. But the rush to domestic partnership has rapidly slowed. In a January 4 open letter to all 179 of his colleagues, Democratic state senator Jeb Spaulding, the powerful chairman of the appropriations committee, declared, "I can't in good conscience just go with the flow and keep quiet on such a basic human fairness issue. It seems ludicrous to me to have the exact same listing of rights and benefits for same-sex and heterosexual couples but have different names for the commitment process."

Other legislators were not convinced. "My constituents would have trouble accepting gay marriage," responded Rep. Michael Flaherty, a Democrat and a leader of a group of house moderates. …

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