Same-sex marriage advocates work to veto-proof the vote

03/27/09 5:50PM By Bob Kinzel
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AP Photo/T. Talbot
Senate President Peter Shumlin and Governor Jim Douglas
(Host) Supporters of the same sex marriage bill are planning a highly visible public campaign over the next two weeks to try to persuade Governor Jim Douglas not to veto their legislation.

And Democratic leaders at the Statehouse are vowing to work together to build a veto proof majority.

VPRs Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) Douglas said on Wednesday that he'll veto the bill because he believes marriage is a union between and man and a woman, and because he thinks that Vermont's Civil Union law offers all the legal benefits and privileges of marriage.

Douglas made his comments two days after the legislation won approval in the Senate by a vote of 26 to 4. 

Speaking on VPR's Vermont Edition, Senate President Peter Shumlin said backers of the bill must continue to put pressure on the governor and undecided lawmakers:

(Shumlin) "The Speaker and I are going to work very hard to ensure that we have veto proof majorities.  That's a struggle we need Vermonters of all persuasions to call up the governor and tell him he's on the wrong side of history that he should change his mind and sign this bill...and he needs to hear that message loud and clear over the next several weeks as we push this bill through the House."

Shumlin says Douglas's promised veto of the bill shows that the governor doesn't understand how Vermont has changed since the passage of the Civil Union law in 2000: 

(Shumlin ) "That was a huge fight 9 years ago and what the governor seems to have missed is that Connecticut and Massachusetts allow marriage now the New Hampshire House I never thought I'd see this passed it yesterday...I thought that the way the debate happened in the Senate was a reflection of how things have changed we saw folks who never would have voted for civil unions 9 years ago stand up and vote for this marriage equality bill."

House leaders say the bill could come to the floor for a vote by the end of next week and it's likely that the legislation will pass.

The governor has promised to quickly veto the bill. The question will then be if there are enough votes in the House to override the governor's veto.

At this time, opponents of the legislation say they're fairly confident that they do have the votes to sustain the veto.

For VPR News I'm Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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