Human Rights Campaign Applauds Vermont House of Representatives Vote in Favor of Marriage Bill

by HRC Staff

Bill has already passed State Senate will head to Governor's desk after final vote in House.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, applauded the Vermont House of Representatives today for voting in favor of legislation that would permit committed lesbian and gay couples to marry under state law. The vote of 95 to 52 by the Vermont State House follows last week's 26-4 Senate vote. After the vote is confirmed, which is expected tomorrow, the bill returns to the Senate for technical concurrence and then will be sent to Governor Jim Douglas.

"This vote marks a significant step forward in the advancement of equality," said Human Rights Campaign Joe Solmonese. "The right to marry should be extended to all couples who are in a loving and committed relationship. We congratulate Speaker of the House Shap Smith, the other representatives who voted yes, and the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force, on this strong statement of support for equality."

Governor Douglas is expected to veto the bill next week the question will be whether the legislature will override his veto. Two-thirds of legislators present in each chamber would be required to vote in favor of overriding a veto by the Governor.

"I hope that Governor Douglas will re-consider and decide not to veto this legislation, which simply ensures that all couples and all families in Vermont receive equal dignity and full equality under the law," said Solmonese. "If Governor Douglas does veto the law, I hope that legislators will override his veto."

If this bill is enacted as law, Vermont will become the first state legislature to recognize marriage equality through legislation. If the bill takes effect, it would make Vermont the third state, after Massachusetts and Connecticut, to extend marriage equality to committed lesbian and gay couples.

New York recognizes marriages by lesbian and gay couples legally entered into in another jurisdiction. California recognized marriage by lesbian and gay couples between June and November of 2008, before voters approved Proposition 8, which purports to amend the state constitution to prohibit marriage equality. The Proposition 8 vote has been challenged in court a decision by the state supreme court is expected by June.

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The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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