Vermont Senate Judiciary Approves Civil Marriage

Timothy Kincaid

March 20th, 2009

From the A/P:

A state Senate committee unanimously approved a gay marriage bill on Friday, moving Vermont one step closer to allowing same-sex couples to legally wed.

“It provides … gay and lesbian couples the same rights that I have as a married heterosexual,” said Sen. John Campbell, vice chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and chief sponsor of the bill.

The measure would replace Vermont’s first-in-the-nation civil unions law with one that allows marriage of same-sex partners beginning Sept. 1.

For some reason, Vermont seems to be the only state who’s website does not give one immediate access to the member of various committees so I can’t report on to what extent this was a bi-partisan decision. However, we know that at least one Republican voted yes.

Friday’s committee vote followed the panel’s rejection of an amendment proposed by Sen. Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland, that would have put the gay marriage question to a statewide referendum next March. After the amendment was defeated, Mullin joined his colleagues in voting 5-0 for the bill.

Should there be sufficient bi-partisan support, Republican Governor Jim Douglas may feel it best to sign the bill.

Timothy (TRiG)

March 20th, 2009

Would this be the first time it passed by legislation rather than court order?



March 20th, 2009


No. California, for what I understand, twice passed legislation making marriage available and it was twice vetoed by the Governator. We all know how much he is regretting that one.


Stefano A

March 20th, 2009

For some reason, Vermont seems to be the only state who’s website does not give one immediate access to the member of various committees so I can’t report on to what extent this was a bi-partisan decision. However, we know that at least one Republican voted yes.

The only Republican on the Judiciary Committee is Mullin.

The members of the Senate Judiciary Committe are:
Senator Sears of Bennington District, Chair (Democrat)
Senator Campbell of Windsor District, Vice-Chair (Democrat)
Senator Cummings of Washington District (Democrat)
Senator Mullin of Rutland District (Republican)
Senator Nitka of Windsor District, Clerk (Democrat)

Stefano A

March 20th, 2009

Senate Standing Committees:

Legislative Directory:
Variaious Links for the House and Sentate including a link to the Standing Committees of the House/Sentate and the Senators/House Reps listed by Name or District)

Senators Listed Alphabestically:

Stefano A

March 20th, 2009


Would this be the first time it passed by legislation rather than court order?

In Vermont you mean? Or in general?

The civil unions were passed by legislature, but this would be the first time SSM has been passed without a court order in any state if Vermont votes “yes”.


March 21st, 2009

TRiG, it would be the first time SSM has been legalised by a US legislature, but either the sixth or (if the Swedish Riksdag gets in first) seventh time internationally.

Six countries have legalised SSM so far (Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway) while the legislature of one is debating it (Sweden) and the legislatures of two more will do so in the near future (Nepal, Scotland). Legalisation involved the Courts in three of these – Canada, ZA and Nepal. ZA is the only one where the legislature was not involved – marriage equality there was gained automatically when Cape Town chose not to act on Bloemfontein’s offer of civil unions as an alternative to SSM.

Stefano A

March 21st, 2009

I’d forgotten that, actually, the California Legislature passed AB 849 2005, which would make it the first bill legalizing same-sex marriage without a court order. The problem was Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who immediately vetoed the legislation.


March 21st, 2009

The problem in California was that the Governator felt that he could not sign the bill because of Prop. 22 being passed by the voters back in 2000. Which was then struck down by the CA Supereme Court in 2008.

Which was then passed again in 2008 under Prop. 8, except by a much small margin (4%) vs. 2000

So, if Prop. 22 hadn’t been passed in 2000, would Schwarzenegger have signed the bill? Or would he have come up with some other excuse?

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