Attention turns to Douglas' action on same-sex marriage bill

03/20/09 5:50PM By Bob Kinzel

AP/Toby Talbot
(Host) Now that the Senate Judiciary committee has unanimously approved the same-sex marriage bill, attention at the Statehouse is shifting to what Governor Jim Douglas will do when the bill reaches his desk.

Douglas has three options: he can sign the bill, he can veto the legislation or he can let the bill become law without his signature.

Speaking on VPR's Vermont Edition, Douglas said he's not going to comment on his plans until the legislation actually reaches his desk.

But he made it clear that he doesn't think the bill represents good public policy:

(Douglas) "I don't believe we need to engage in this debate. I believe that marriage ought to remain a union of a man and woman, I believe that the civil union law has afforded full equivalent rights and privileges to same sex couples as it does to those of the opposite sex, so I don't think we need this - I've made that pretty clear."

(Host) And Douglas says advocates of same-sex marriage would be better off taking their fight to the U.S. Congress if they want to develop a consistent level of benefits throughout the country:

(Douglas )"Because we have extended through state law all the rights and privileges of marriage to civil union couples the only difference is really in terms of federal benefits. So they ought to take their case there and that would be the greatest step toward achieving true equality."

(Host) The bill could come up for a vote in the Senate as early as Monday afternoon. 

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