Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It's Official: Vermont Governor Jim Douglas Formally Announces His Intent to Veto Same-Sex Marriage Measure, If Passed

The Vermont Senate has voted to legalize same-sex marriage, and the House is expected to do the same thing soon. Republican Governor Jim Douglas, however, stated today that he would veto legislation on the issue (affirming comments made by his spokesperson yesterday) [Editor's Note: The article on the veto threat has been substantially updated and includes far more information than when I first wrote this essay.]

Douglas stated that he will veto legislation authorizing same-sex marriage so that the state con focus on the budget and the economy. His spokesperson made the same argument yesterday.

This argument, however, is just a smokescreen designed to mask his bigotry. Although Governor Douglas claims that the same-sex marriage legislation consumes time that he could use to address the economy, he is spending the weekend engaging in a host of nongovernmental activities, including tree tapping, touring sugar houses, and attending a poster contest banquet. Hopefully, the Vermont media will uncover the contradictions and deceipt in his argument.

Related Reading on Dissenting Justice:

Definite Candidate for Wimp of the Year Award: Vermont Governor Jim Douglas


vanderleun said...

Hey, he can veto and they can override the veto. That's sort of how it is supposed to work, isn't it.

In addition, according to the link you supply, his primary reason given for doing so is:

"I believe marriage has always been and ought to remain the union of a man and a woman," Douglas said. "I believe the civil unions law has offered equal rights and benefits under state law to same-sex couples and that should suffice."

To present, as you do in your item, his statement of letting the state work on the budget and the economy as the sole reason given is, to say the least, disingenuous. Indeed, it is nothing but spin and slant. Not a good move. It is not, as you state, a "smokescreen." He's really quite up front about his reasons.

I'm for gay marriage, but this kind of "reporting" is part of the reason gay marriage zealots are having such slow slogging.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Vanderleun -- First, the article which you say proves I am at the "least" disingenuous has been substantially updated and augmented since the time I wrote this essay.

Second, of course the legislature can attempt to override the veto, but yesterday and earlier today, the governor used the "economy" as a basis for opposing the legislation. This is a cop-out.

Third, other reports indicate that Douglas also opposed civil unions. So there is continuity in his opposition to equality. Your attempt to "spin" and "slant" his position as benign does not stand up to history.

Finally, it's preposterous to blame gay people - aka "gay marriage zealots" - for resistance to same-sex marriage. I am not a zealot of any kind -- certainly not a marriage zealot. I would rather see benefits detached from marriage, but this is an issue of equality.

Anonymous said...

So you are saying that you didn't know the other reason? His released statement makes all the reasons pretty clear regardless of what the article did or did not say at this or that time. And, according to the statement, the "economy" was not the "basis" for opposing the legislation.

== quote ==
"Vermont's civil union law has extended the same state rights, responsibilities and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples. I believe our civil union law serves Vermont well and I would support congressional action to extend those benefits at the federal level to states that recognize same-sex unions. But like President Obama and other leaders on both sides of the aisle, I believe that marriage should remain between a man and woman.

"As you know, it's been a policy of mine not to announce whether or not I will veto a bill before it reaches my desk. But during these extraordinary times, the speculation about my decision has added to the anxiety of the moment and further diverts attention from our most pressing issues - and I cannot allow that to happen.

"For those reasons and because I believe that by removing any uncertainty about my position we can move more quickly beyond this debate, I am announcing that I intend to veto this legislation when it reaches my desk.
== endquote==

The entire statement:

seems to me to be long, detailed, considered and anything but a cop-out. It is a full and forthright statement of his position on the issue and an announcement of his intent. Would that we had as much honestly from all politicians.

Nor is it "preposterous" to blame, not gay people, but "gay marriage zealots" for being constantly hoist by their own petard. Their cowardly street responses in Los Angeles to the Prop 8 vote condemns them, not I.

Anonymous said...

That would be me above. You're commenting mechanism is quite wonky currently and I have to resort to the anonymous choice to get it to work.

It's probably frustrating an unknown number of other commenters as well. You might want to revisit whatever tool is doing this.

Anonymous said...

God bless you Gov. Douglas for having the profound courage to stand up for what is of imminent attention to all Vermonters: In the face of such DIRE financial straits, job cuts (just this week more factory cuts at IBM, Ethan Allen, etc.) and no jobs in sight--regardless of education, experience, degrees, gender, etc. We best be WAKING UP to just how deeply financially desperate our lives are becoming and take care of business there FIRST.
Come on, people.
Respect Gov. Douglas for having the courage to focus on the immediate needs of us all. Employment, food, shelter.
Civil rights? Of course he cares about that--what category do the above issues fall into? Trival matters!?? I think not. Take care of the most pressing needs first; then the other issues.
I applaud you Gov. Douglas for your firm stance in the face of MUCH opposition from a rankerous crowd of people who will find fault with God Himself. Obviously. Having the "new marriage bill" at the forefront of "pressing matters"? for some... is beyond ludicrous right now, in the face of people losing their homes right here in our own communities, etc.

Great. So get married...where will you work, live, eat, provide for your family. We're not "living happily ever after" in Vermont or the USA right now. Be grateful for a Gov. who is wise enough to discern priorities.

May you be blessed and protected from the heated fall=out for your stand. You have a lot more support for your courage, veto, etc. than the "fab" media would dare allow us to know.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Vanderleun - I did not play fast with any facts. The earlier article did not have the governor's statement. So let's move on from the bad faith analysis.

Second - I will reiterate: blaming gays and lesbians for the denial of same-sex marriage is a completely meritless argument. As the opponents like to say: "marriage has ALWAYS been between a man and a woman." So, are you blaming gays and lesbians for their own discrimination throughout history? This "fight" did not begin today.

Also - the Blogger comment framework definitely allows you to post with your screenname. Immediately below the comment window, you will find "Comment as"; click that box and choose the option you like.

To the second ANONYMOUS person who believes that the economy excuses the veto - your argument does not hold up to reality. If the economy is so urgent that the Governor cannot simply sign a piece of legislation, then he should refrain from attending all the "fluff" events he is scheduled to attend this weekend. People are still getting married, despite the economy. People are still apparently eating syrup and producing it - despite the economy. People are in "civil unions," despite the economy. People are still blaming others for their discrimination - despite the economy.

A bad economy is a great time to focus on civil rights. Many civil rights causes focus attention on the lack of equal benefits and statuses. Besides, it would not take much effort for the Governor to sign the legislation. I hope that the legislature overrides him.

Gerard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gerard said...

I'll give you credit for not playing fast and loose with the facts and acknowledge that you simply, at the time of y√łur posting, did not have all of them.

As for blaming gays, you have to step away from half-cocked post box.

Read more closely. I don't blame them for their discrimination, I blame them for being both stupid and craven when it comes to their behavior following Prop 8.

I am sure you are, for example, aware that a huge percentage of the vote for Prop 8 came from the African-American demographic. And yet we did not see any street protests roaming through south central nor lining up in front of African American church doors. Only those of the Mormons. Not what I'd call acting on the courage of convictions, is it?

Again, I am blaming their behavior for their failures. Not the justness of their cause.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Hello, Gerard. Thanks for giving me "credit."

I am not sure that you were the person (Venderleun) who prompted my responses yesterday, but here goes. Whether or not the GLBT community acted appropriately after Prop 8 has nothing to do with prohibitions of same-sex marriage. The California ban (and all others) existed prior to Prop 8; the California Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional; Prop 8 overruled this ruling; the protests followed the passage of Prop 8. Your argument seems to distort this history.

Furthermore, the situation in Vermont has nothing to do with California. Several years ago, Vermont went with "civil unions" after the state supreme court held that the unequal distribution of benefits discriminated against gays and lesbians.

As for the black vote and Prop 8 - that was more a measure of "religion" rather than race.

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