By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
The battle to preserve traditional marriage resulted in two critical victories this week. The Governor of Vermont announced he will veto a same-sex marriage bill passed by the legislature this week and lawmakers in the state of Hawaii failed to come up with enough votes to release a civil unions bill from a committee in which it has been stalled.
Vermont Gov. James Douglas left supporters of same-sex marriage shocked and disappointed when he promised to veto a same-sex marriage bill that passed 26-4 in the state Senate on Monday.
“I believe our civil-union law serves Vermont well and I would support congressional action to extend those benefits at the federal level to states that recognize same-sex unions,” the Governor said in a written statement. “But, like President Obama and other leaders on both sides of the aisle, I believe that marriage should remain between a man and woman.”
Thousands of miles away, state senators rejected a motion to pull a civil unions bill from a committee where it has been stalled. Prospects of the bill advancing during the current session are now bleak.
The bill, which passed the House in a 33-17 vote last month before stalling in the Senate committee, would give same-sex partners who enter civil unions the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as married couples under state law. It would also recognize civil unions, domestic partnerships and same-sex marriages performed in other states as civil unions in Hawaii.
Hundreds of people attended the Senate vote, many wearing red as a symbol of opposition to civil unions. When the vote was complete, the audience broke into shouts of joy when the motion was defeated.
“This is a victory for traditional marriage and preserving the will of the people,” said Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona. “The Senate responded to the overwhelming majority of citizens who stepped forward to reaffirm marriage between a man and a woman.
“I have said from the beginning that House Bill 444 attempts to circumvent the will of the people by authorizing same-sex marriage under a different name.”
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