Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Warning Shot

The forces of intolerance were awoken from their sleep today by a fusillade from an unexpected quarter. A-snooze in their hammocks, the sound of their hull absorbing the brunt of the salvo must have shaken them to the core. They were being attacked by a raider slipping out of the mist.

The state of Vermont took its rightful place in United States history today, when the State Legislature overturned Governor Jim Douglas' veto of a bill which would make marriage between same-sex couples legal in the state of Vermont. This was not a triumph of the legal system, but the legislative, and the Vermont Legislature was the first state governing body in the nation to pass such legislation and preserve it over the objection of a state's Governor. This was law-making as intended, the voice of a people being heard to say "we will no longer stand for intolerance."

The bill originally passed without a veto-proof majority, but anyone who knows the state of Vermont, knows that when the stakes are important, the people know how to lobby their local representatives to ensure the will of the people is done. No doubt, once Governor Douglas threatened his veto, the wires to Montpelier were hot with the voices of Vermonters unwilling to allow such ground-breaking legislation to die such an ignominious death.

Where this moment stands in the history of homosexual civil rights remains to be seen, but it clearly opens up a door the forces of intolerance thought closed.

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