BREAKING: Gay marriage now legal in Vermont

Holy crap.

This is huge. On many levels. First, Iowa and Vermont both making marriage legal within days of each other, that creates the sense of a trend. Second, in Vermont, the legislature made marriage legal. Not the courts, the legislature. Why does this matter? Because Republicans have been arguing for years that the problem with gay marriage is that THE COURTS are making these decisions, rather than the people via their elected representatives. Well, today the people made the decision to legalize same-gender marriages through their elected representatives. What will Republicans say now? We’ve met their test, and passed. Either the GOP simply hates gays, or they need to admit that we won, fair and square, even by the rules they set down.

From the Human Rights Campaign:

The state Senate voted 23-5 and the House of Representatives voted 100-49 to override Gov. Jim Douglas’s veto, making Vermont the first state to recognize marriage for committed lesbian and gay couples through the legislative process. The Vermont legislation goes into effect September 1.

“This historic vote in the Vermont legislature reminds us of the incredible progress being made toward equality. Less than five years ago, lesbian and gay couples began marrying in Massachusetts. Now, with the Iowa court decision last Friday and today’s vote in Vermont, there will be four states recognizing the right to marry for loving, committed lesbian and gay couples,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “We congratulate Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, Speaker of the House Shap Smith, the other legislators who voted for marriage, the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force, and MassEquality for ensuring that all couples will now enjoy the freedom to marry in Vermont. This is a law that will strengthen families and give meaning to the promise of equal rights for all.”…

Vermont becomes the first state to recognize marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples through legislation. California’s legislature has twice passed similar legislation that was vetoed and not enacted into law. Vermont is the fourth state, after Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa, to extend marriage equality to committed lesbian and gay couples. Iowa’s state supreme court unanimously ruled on April 3, 2009 that the state constitution guarantees lesbian and gay couples the equal right to marry.

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.

Lesbian and gay couples do not receive federal rights and responsibilities in any state. To learn more about state by state legislation, visit here.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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