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VT HOUSE S.115 As Enacted: Read the new law!

In the News

April 07, 2009


100-49.  The Governor's veto is overridden.  How the House voted.

Dear friends,

Vermont's House and Senate made history today, overriding the Governor's veto of S.115 and making Vermont the first state to embrace the freedom to marry through our elected representatives without a court order. Congratulations to all of us!

The final vote in the House was 49 votes to sustain the veto, and 100 votes to override it -- an override by the slimmest of margins. We are deeply indebted to legislative leaders for recognizing the importance of our families and our rights, and to all those legislators who stood by us -- some at considerable political risk. The courage that many leaders have shown over the past several weeks is inspiring, and we've seen the best of representative democracy in action. To our supporters in the Legislature: You have stood up for us, and we will stand with you in the days to come. We urge you to write each and every legislator (House and Senate) who stood with us on the override vote.
Let them know you appreciate their support, and what they've been through.

This is a proud day for Vermont and Vermonters. Throughout this three and a half week process, we have engaged with one another with as much civility and respect as possible given the intensity of the heartfelt views many of us -- across the spectrum -- brought into this debate.
And in the end, we did the right thing. The forces of justice, fairness and love proved far stronger than one man's veto pen.

And along the way, we built new bridges. The debate galvanized the majority of Vermonters in the quest for fairness and inclusion, uniting the business community, clergy and ordinary folks from the four corners of our state. In our editorial pages we've seen compelling calls for justice, personal stories, and thoughtful analysis. And in communities around the state, thousands of Vermonters stepped up to the plate -- writing your legislators, coming to the Statehouse, knocking on doors, and making phone calls. Some of you have never engaged in the political process before, and some hadn't thought much about the freedom to marry until it hit the front page.
But you opened your hearts, heard a better future calling, and dedicated yourself to making our world a more loving place.

And the courage of every single legislator, and the commitment of every single volunteer and donor, has made a difference. We made it over the top without a cushion. Every single one of us has truly mattered.

Your actions matter to Sandi and Bobbi, who can finally get married right here in their own home state after 42 years of committed life together -- through life-threatening sickness, job loss, and the challenges of parenting, as well as the joys of raising a child, being grandmothers, and sharing each other's company.

Your actions matter to Nina and Stacy who have spent a dozen years advocating for children of gay and lesbian parents -- including their own. It matters to their son, Seth, who deserves to grow up in a world that recognizes, respects, and protects his family as much as any other.

Your actions matter to Scott, who as an adolescent struggling with his sexuality regularly contemplated suicide because he felt less worthy than his heterosexual siblings. And to the next generation of Scotts whose load will be lighter in a world where our laws don't reinforce outdated social stigmas.

Your actions matter to kids that haven't yet been born, youngsters who don't yet realize how we made a better world for them, and soulmates yet-to-be-joined by fate or good fortune.

Vermont can serve as a beacon of hope to the kid on the playground in Indiana, bullied by his peers because he's not macho enough. To the lesbian mother in Georgia in fear of losing custody of her child because she's gay. And to the worker in Montana who is afraid to come out to his boss for fear of losing his job.

To all of you -- thank you for making this difference!

We are planning a party, to celebrate justice and thank all who made it possible. Stay tuned for details. And thanks to all for proving that, in the end, love prevails!

Senate Votes 23-5 to Override

The Vermont Senate voted by a 23-5 margin to override Governor Douglas' veto of S.115. We applaud the Senate's decisive leadership on this civil rights bill that's so critical to our families, and to the fabric of this State. The bill now goes back to the House for consideration of a veto override.

April 06, 2009

Governor Douglas Vetoed S.115

The Vermont Senate concurred with the House on S.115 and sent the bill to the Governor, who promptly vetoed it late this afternoon.  The bill will return to the Senate for an override vote at 9 a.m. tomorrow, followed by the same action in the House.  The House will likely vote on the override question some time after 10:00 a.m., and most likely before lunch.

Be sure to come to the Statehouse tomorrow morning - our legislators need your support!  If you can't make it, we will be streaming video of the House proceedings on our site.

Heads of Sugarbush and Ben & Jerry's Urge Override

New petition signed by 17 Vermont CEOs and business presidents urge the House to stand firm - read the petition  and view the list of signers.

April 04, 2009

New Editorials In Support of Civil Marriage


4/5/09 - Make Final Push for Marriage Equality
Buirlington Free Press Editorial

4/4/09 - The Tide of History
Rutland Herald/Times Argus Editorial

4/3/09 - Iowa Legalizes Gay Marriage, Vermont Would Do Well to Follow
US News & World Report Blog

4/2/09 -On Gay Marriage, Attention Shifts To Each Legislator's Vote
Addison Independent

4/1/09 - Gay Marriage Veto: The Governor is Wrong
WPTZ Editorial

More Editorials in our Press Room

Read a selection of recent news articles

April 03, 2009

Final House Vote on S.115: 94-52

The Vermont House of Representatives gave FINAL approval this afternoon to S. 115, a vote of 94-52. Two of our yes votes were absent. One representative who was absent yesterday voted yes today.

This overwhelming support for the freedom to marry shows just how far we've come.  Thank you to everyone who has helped along the way.

But we're not done yet.  The Senate is likely to concur in the House amendments on Monday, at which time they'll deliver the bill to the Governor.  The Governor is expected to veto the bill and return it quickly, so the Senate and House may take up the override vote as early as Tuesday.  Stay tuned for details.


Iowa high court strikes down same-sex marriage ban

The Iowa Supreme Court struck down a state law today that banned same-sex marriage. 

Iowa becomes the third state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage, after Massachusetts and Connecticut. 

April 02, 2009

S. 115 Clears Next Hurdle! Final Vote Tomorrow

In front of a packed house chamber, the Vermont House of Representatives voted by an overwhelming margin to support the freedom to marry.  The vote total was 95-52.

After working most of the day on the appropriations bill, the House turned its attention to S.115.  Our elected leaders debated for five hours before a packed chamber of Vermonters -- mostly supporters of the freedom to marry.  They told stories about their constituents and their own lives.  Many spoke straight from the heart.  In the end, they cast their votes one by one. 

Today's vote was groundbreaking. The 95 yes votes exceeded even our own expectations coming into this session, and are a great foundation for the looming override battle.  The final House vote on the bill is tomorrow.  We encourage you to attend.

After the final House vote tomorrow, we expect the Senate to concur with the House amendments before promptly forwarding the bill to the Governor.  The override vote may come as early as Tuesday. 

We need you now more than ever:  we need canvassers, phone bankers and all manner of volunteers.  Click here to find out how you can help.

April 01, 2009

We need you at the Statehouse tomorrow!

Button THIS IS IT!  Fourth quarter, with 20 seconds on the clock.  And I'm not talking about the March Madness on the basketball floor.  Tomorrow, the action on S.115 moves to the HOUSE floor, and WE NEED YOU to be there.  How can we ask our elected representatives to advocate for us if they don't see us advocating for ourselves? 

Please spend the day at the Statehouse.  Wear your freedom to marry buttons.  Let your Representatives see that you care.  IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT WE HAVE A VISIBLE PRESENCE IN THE ROOM, so get there early (8 a.m. would be great, but don't stay away if you can't get there until later.)

Continue reading "We need you at the Statehouse tomorrow!" »

March 31, 2009

S.115 Clears Next Hurdle

We're one step closer! We need YOU to help us press on. Fairness and equality are within our reach. We MUST do the hard work to keep reaching out to our elected leaders to get the job done. We can't expect our elected Representatives to advocate for us if they don't see us advocating for ourselves! Spend the day at the Statehouse on Thursday, April 2 (get there by 9 a.m. - read more below).

The House Judiciary Committee voted S.115 out of committee today with a 8-2 vote! The committee made minor amendments to strengthen protections for religious freedom, and to make it clear that the laws only regulate civil marriage. The committee worked hard, listening to lots of testimony on a range of topics from diverse witnesses. Please thank the House Judiciary Committee members who supported this bill. (You can leave a message with the Sgt-at-Arms, 802-828-2228).

Continue reading "S.115 Clears Next Hurdle" »