ALL the News about
Mormons, Mormonism
and the LDS Church
Mormon News: All the News about Mormons, Mormonism and the LDS Church
For week ended February 06, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
Most Recent Week
Front Page
Local News
Arts & Entertainment
·New Products
·New Websites
·Mormon Stock Index
Letters to Editor
Continuing Coverage of:
Boston Temple
School Prayer
Julie on MTV
Robert Elmer Kleasen
About Mormon News
News by E-Mail
Weekly Summary
Submitting News
Submitting Press Releases
Volunteer Positions
Bad Link?

News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Same-Sex Marriage Polarizes Vermont
New York Times 3Feb00 N1
By Carey Goldberg

MONTPELIER, VERMONT -- The war over same-sex marriage opened a new front in Vermont last month when the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that the legislature must provide a way for homosexual couples to have the same benefits as heterosexual couples. Mass public hearings at the state House in the past two weeks demonstrate that the state has become increasingly polarized over the issue, leaving the Vermont legislature with the difficult job of deciding how to implement the Court's decision.

The Court ruled December 20th in the case of three same-sex couples that sought marriage licenses, saying that Vermont's laws must grant them equal benefits. If the legislature doesn't act quickly enough, the court reserved the right to revisit the issue. Following the ruling, Governor Howard Dean and others expressed support for setting up domestic partnership laws in the state, rather than allow homosexual marriage. However, the ruling would require a Vermont domestic partnership law to be much more extensive than the domestic partnership laws in California and Hawaii, the two other U.S. states that have such laws.

Soon after the decision, an LDS Church representative testified before the State House Judiciary Committee, urging instead that the legislature attempt to amend the state constitution rather than adopt a domestic partnership law. This idea has become the ideal for those that oppose gay marriage, rather than the domestic partnership middle ground supported by the Governor.

Homosexual activists have likewise opposed the domestic partnership idea, saying that passing such a law would undermine their attempts to win same-sex marriage. Leaders of the more liberal Episcopal and United Methodist denominations have come out in favor of gay marriage and discouraged the compromise of domestic partnerships.

The recent mass meetings have drawn well over 1,000 people each, nearly one-half of one percent of the state's 600,000 people -- the equivalent of more than 1 million people showing up to hearings before the U.S. Congress. And a statewide poll taken January 18-21 demonstrated the state's split on the issue, with 38 percent agreeing with the State Supreme Court and 52 percent disagreeing -- only 10 percent remained unsure. When asked if the state's constitution should be amended to overturn the ruling, 49 percent agreed and 44 percent opposed the idea.

The House Judiciary Committee will try to begin drafting a law this week, but Representative Thomas A. Little, the committee's head, says it will be slow going. No preliminary votes have been taken on the issue, and no one is making any predictions about what the outcome will be. Meanwhile, thousands of Vermonters will get a chance to voice their opinions on the issue and participate in a non-binding vote held during their March Town Meeting Day.

Meanwhile, some Vermonters are getting annoyed at outsiders that are trying to influence the issue. Militant anti-abortionist Randall Terry, who has created disturbances at abortion clinics around the country with his Operation Rescue, has shown up and told the Rutland Herald that he will be there for the duration of the fight. And a spokesperson for Governor Dean, who is a Democrat, says that he has received 13,000 calls, faxes and letters on the issue, but the vast majority came from those out-of-state, and have been ignored.

Even the Burlington Free Press is getting letters from outsiders that want to voice their opinions on same-sex marriage. However, the paper isn't interested in their opinions, [It has] "created an atmosphere within Vermont that this is our issue and we will resolve it," says the paper's editorial page editor, Stephen Kiernan, "And outsiders, thank you very much, but why don't you go skiing?"


[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information