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marriage-is-so-gayApril 7, 2009

By Rady Ananda

The AP and blogs lit up today with news that Vermont’s legislature overrode a gubernatorial veto (Jim Douglas), and passed a law allowing marriage equality for gays and lesbians.  The District of Columbia also voted today to recognize same sex marriage. These events follow the unanimous Iowa Supreme Court ruling last week banning discrimination against same-sex marriage.

The New York Times reported:

The Vermont Legislature on Tuesday overrode Gov. Jim Douglas’s veto of a bill allowing gay couples to marry, mustering one more vote than needed to preserve the measure.

The step makes Vermont the first state to allow same-sex marriage through legislative action instead of a court ruling. The law goes into effect Sept. 1.

Approval had been expected in the Senate, where the vote was 23 to 5.

But the outcome in the House of Representatives was not clear until the final moments of a long roll call, when Rep. Jeff Young, a Democrat who voted against the bill last week, reversed his position. In the end the vote was 100 to 49, just slightly more than the required two-thirds majority of members present.

After the final tally, cheers erupted in both legislative chambers of the State House and in the hallways outside, and several lawmakers on both sides of the debate looked stunned.

“It’s a great day for equality,” said State Representative Margaret Cheney, a Democrat from Norwich. “People saw this as an equality issue, and we’re proud that Vermont has led the way without a court order to provide equal benefits.”

The override came days after the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that not permitting gay marriage there was unconstitutional. Vermont, which in 2000 became the first state to adopt civil unions for gay couples, now brings the number of states allowing same-sex marriage to four; the others are Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa.

On the Iowa ruling last week, Lambda Legal quoted Justice Cady:

“We are firmly convinced the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage does not substantially further any important governmental objective. The legislature has excluded a historically disfavored class of persons from a supremely important civil institution without a constitutionally sufficient justification.”

A National Day of Decision is being organized in anticipation of the California Supreme Court decision on whether to overturn Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage and which voters reportedly approved last November.  State organizers plan to protest or celebrate within twenty-four hours of the decision being published.

Blogger Brad Friedman had this to say:

“We’re delighted to see two-thirds of each Statehouse chamber override the Governor’s veto of a law which will correct the injustice of segregation via ‘civil unions.’

“Vermont’s Legislature is the first in the Union to affirm the right to marriage equality. Previous rulings, in four states, have been made by state Supreme Courts, each with a Republican-appointed Justice penning the majority opinion.”

DarkLady, an Oregon adult industry activist/writer, asked, “But did they legalize same-sex divorce, too?”  We don’t think so, but we better write that into our pre-nups before tying the knot. 

The website of White Knot for Equality had a banner headline that read:

4 of a Kind: MA, CT, Iowa, and now Vermont

The Million Gay March (June 28, 2009) updated their significant events page to give us:

million gay marchToday in Gay History- April 7th

1953– Closeted gay Dag Hammarskjöld is elected United Nations Secretary General.

1970– The movie, Midnight Cowboy, which depicted the life of a gay hustler in New York City, wins the Academy Award for best picture.

1976– Rep. Barbara Jordan (D-TX) refuses to co-sponsor a federal gay rights bill, and becomes angry at comparisons made between discrimination based and race and discrimination based on sexual orientation.

1987– Openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harry Britt narrowly loses an election to Nancy Pelosi. The special election was held to fill a seat in the House of Representatives left vacant by the death of Rep. Sala Burton.

1990– The weekly Soviet magazine Ogonyok condemns the persecution of homosexuals.

1998– British singer George Michael is arrested for masturbating in a public restroom in Will Rogers Park, Beverly Hills California.

2004– Thirteen same-sex couples sue the state of New York seeking to have the state law which denies gay and lesbian couples the right to marry declared unconstitutional. 

2009Vermont and DC vote to Legally recognize Same-Sex Marriage.

Today’s Gay Birthdays-

1912– Harry Hay, founder of the Mattachine Society, an early US gay rights organization.

1907– Violette Leduc, author and fag hag, in Arras Pas de Calais, France. She continually went after gay men, and one of them, Maurice Sachs told her to write just to get rid of her. She did and wrote Le Batarde.

1915– Billie Holiday, legendary blues singer.

1941– Gordon Kaye, British actor, in Moldgreen, Huddersfield, Yorkshire. Best known for his role as Rene Artois in the TV comedy series ‘Allo ‘Allo.

Today’s Gay Quote-

“I’m a very proud man. I want people to know that I feel stupid and I feel reckless and weak for having allowed my sexuality to be exposed this way, but I don’t feel any shame whatsoever.” — George Michael

Last year, actress and comedienne Wanda Sykes warned the nation:

“On November 4th… our community was attacked…. We shouldn’t have to be standing out here demanding something that we automatically should have as citizens of this country.  But I got pissed off.  They pissed me off.  And I said, ‘You know what? Now I gotta get in your face.’ They pissed off the wrong group of people.

“They have galvanized the community….  Instead of having gay marriage in California, no – we gonna get it across the country.”

The 21st Century Civil Rights Movement gained another foothold on the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution today by the District of Columbia’s and, more significantly, Vermont’s action.  The Q community applauds recognition of the meaning and intent of “nor deny to any person” in this amendment. 

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