Interview: Stephan Morse on the challenge of voting your conscience

04/02/09 7:49AM By Mitch Wertlieb
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AP Photo/Toby Talbot
The House opens debate today over the same-sex marriage bill. And it's expected to be a passionate discussion. While the vote is expected to pass, it's unclear what the margin will be, because many lawmakers are still undecided and expect to make up their minds during the course of the debate.

House Speaker Shap Smith said yesterday he expects lawmakers to vote their conscience, and listen to what their colleagues have to say.

(Smith) "I've actually asked members of my caucus to keep an open mind and to listen to the testimony and to consider the testimony. It is not something that we have put forward as a caucus issue."

Governor Jim Douglas has already made clear  he will veto the bill if it reaches his desk. But he also said he won't weigh-in on the following debate to over-ride his veto:

(Douglas) "Unlike other bills where I exercise a veto I'm not going to do anything to talk to legislators to try to influence their decision they need to make this a matter of individual conscience."

Again, that issue of conscience. When do legislators vote their conscience? We put that question to someone very familiar with it...Stephan Morse is a former Speaker of the Vermont House.

Click listen to hear the interview.


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