MONTPELIER, VT -- When the Vermont Legislature voted Tuesday to override Governor Jim Douglas' veto of a bill permitting same-sex couples to wed, the sun did not go black, the earth did not split in two and the rivers did not run red with blood.
Instead, Vermont became the fourth U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage and the first to do so via legislative vote.
Although perhaps better known to most for its ice cream and maple syrup, Vermont's maverick tolerance of relationship diversity was evidenced nine years ago when it became the first state to extend civil union rights to same-sex couples. This Tuesday's 23-5 Senate vote and 100-49 House vote further extends the options of citizens by including legally recognized marriage for same-sex couples.
Unlike Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa, each of which allows same-sex marriage, Vermont's decision was not handed down from the court system.
Unfortunately for couples legally married in any of the four states, federal laws and those of the other 46 states will not recognize their status or offer protections enjoyed by legally married opposite-sex couples.
Hundreds of observers in the House gallery and lobby broke into cries of joy at the announcement in spite of admonishments against such outbursts. Rep. Robert Dorstis [D-Waterbury] was among those gathered and promptly proposed to his partner of 25 years, declaring "Twenty-five years together; I think it's time we finally got married."
New Hampshire and Maine will likely become the next battlefields in the fight for marriage parity, with each state's lawmakers considering bills to permit same-sex to legally wed.
Theresa "Darklady" Reed is Editor at YNOT.com, a HuffingtonPost.com and OpEdNews.com blogger, a member of the Free Speech Coalition board of directors, adult industry liaison for the Woodhull Freedom Foundation and has nearly two decades of experience covering adult entertainment, internet technology, and alternative sexuality beats online, in print, and via traditional and web radio. Learn more at www.Darklady.com and follow her via twitter.com/TheDarklady.
Originally posted at YNot.com.
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