Gay marriage – Vermont style

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The gay marriage issue is starting to feel like the collapse of the Eastern bloc. It’s happening quickly and relatively quietly, without much of a fight. Today, Vermont became the latest state to legalize gay marriage when its legislature voted to override the governor’s veto of a bill. It’s the first time gay marriage was enacted via the legislature and not from the courts. The “activist judges” cries, which started when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court struck down laws to prevent gay marriage, don’t work here.

Four states now allow gay marriage, and two of them have joined the ranks in the last week. On Friday, Iowa’s Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex marriage.

Iowa. The nation’s heartland. You could almost hear conservative groups sigh, “If we’ve lost Iowa, we’ve lost America.” But after last November’s bruising, the reaction has been somewhat muted. Then again, it’s not an election year.

“You cannot take marriage, a social institution that developed over a very, very long period of time, and redefine it out of existence, without taking an enormous risk,” writes BeliefNet columnist Rod Dreher. “The agenda of some of these leaders is precisely to do that — to rid marriage of anything normative, to make it a free-floating legal condition that has no meaning beyond whatever it is they want it to mean today.”

But like the fall of the Eastern bloc, the effort to legalize same-sex marriage is picking up steam on a regional basis, and it’s happening quickly. The chances are improving, the New York Times reported, that New England is the core of the movement, whose slogan is “Six by ’12.”

This map from the Human Rights Campaign reinforces the notion of a regional strategy:

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What does this mean in Minnesota? Not much; at least not yet. Same-sex marriages from other states are not recognized in Minnesota. A bill to change that is — so far — going nowhere at the Capitol. Legislation to make Minnesota’s marriage laws gender neutral is similarly stalled.

(Photo: Jordan Silverman/Getty Images)

  • Alison

    Yeah! Way to go Vermont! And to all the allies out there who support LGBT equality – THANKS for your support!

  • Leave it to Vermont and Iowa to be the most progressive states in the nation, shame on us here in California for passing Prop 9. Whether you call it Gay Marriage or Civil Union, the basic premise is that every person should have equal rights. It’s good to see that some states are progressing, I made a list on my site of the states I think will legalize Gay Marriage first: http://www.toptentopten.com/topten/first+states+that+will+legalize+gay+marriage

  • BJ

    I’ve never understood why the government ‘licenses’ marriage anyway.

    They have a joint tax return so why, beyond that, do states care?

    There are property rights and child custody issues but these days many are not getting married anyway. So why not drop the marriage ‘license’ and opt for child custody and property licenses anyway?

    Leaving marriage to religious people and groups (who seem to be ones with the undies in a bunch) to figure out for themselves.

  • bsimon

    “They have a joint tax return so why, beyond that, do states care? … [Leave] marriage to religious people and groups … to figure out for themselves.”

    The state cares because the legal state of marriage is a shortcut for property rights, child custody rights and innumerable others. Your suggestion is potentially where we’ll end up however: eliminate ‘marriage’ as a state sanctioned legal status in lieu of a legal union. Leave the ceremony of marriage to religious institutions that can impose their own requirements on their membership.

  • Jim!!!

    New Iowa acronym definition : Iowa, Obviously Way Ahead.

  • Jay

    Isn’t gay marriage just about the money ? So “married filing jointly” allows for all the financial gains tax laws provide for a family ? What’s next, equal rights for man and boy marriage? Three partners to a household ? Equal rights for three ? We have “gay marriage” and its a free-for-all….