Vermont Gov. Says Civil Unions are Fine, No to Gay Marriage Bill

MONTPELIER, Vt. (BP) --- Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas broke his silence
Wednesday about a "gay marriage" bill that is garnering national
attention, saying he will veto it if it reaches his desk.

a veto by Douglas, a Republican, will make any difference remains to be
seen. A bill that would legalize "marriage" between homosexuals passed
the state Senate by a veto-proof majority and is currently before the
House Judiciary Committee.

Douglas' pledge, though, does provide
opponents of the bill with hope. Until Wednesday, he had not taken a
stand on the bill, although he had said he opposes "gay marriage." His
policy has been not to take a position on any bill prior to its passage.

leaders have made the bill, H.B. 444, a priority and placed it on a
fast track in an attempt to make Vermont the first state voluntarily to
legalize such relationships.

"I believe our civil union law
serves Vermont well," Douglas told reporters, according to Vermont
Public Radio. "Like President Obama and leaders on both sides of the
aisle, I believe that marriage should remain between a man and a woman.
... I'm announcing that I intend to veto this legislation when it
reaches my desk."

The bill passed the Senate during a special
session, 26-4, far more than the two-thirds majority needed to override
a veto. The House vote is expected to be closer.

speculation about my decision has added to the anxiety of the moment,
and further diverts attention from our most pressing issues, and I
cannot allow that to happen," Douglas said. Douglas also
speculated about a possible override, saying, "I'm sure that
legislative leaders would not have advanced this bill if they didn't
have the votes to override a veto."

Massachusetts and
Connecticut are the only states that recognize "gay marriage," although
both changes in law came via court order.



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