Tuesday, April 07, 2009

And Then There Were Four

Vermont just became -- along with Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa -- the fourth state in our union to allow marriage on a non-discriminatory basis.

Even better, it was the first one to do so simply through legislative action -- there was no judicial ruling that it was necessary. (The governor vetoed it; the legislature overrode the veto.) Like many other proponents of equal marriage rights, while I think the court rulings in its favor are proper, correct and entirely legitimate, I think it is preferable to have equality achieved legislatively.

Hey -- New York? My home state? We could still be #5 y'know. How about it?

I'd say "4 down, 46 to go" but actually there is another battle too -- one that is arguably more important than any victory in the remaining 46 states -- namely, getting the federal government to recognize the marriages done in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa & Vermont on an equal basis. Currently, the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" prohibits that (as well as stating that no state needs to recognize same-sex marriages done in another state). Putting aside for the moment the issues of recognition by other states, it seems to me that we should at least get rid of that provision. At the moment, same-sex couples who marry in one of the four non-discriminatory states have many benefits denied them due to federal non-recognition of their marriages. It seems to me a top priority is assuring that, at least in those states that choose to be non-discriminatory, marriages can be fully and genuinely equal.

But that's for tomorrow. For today: hooray for Vermont!

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