Tag Archives: Gov. Jim Douglas

Vermont legislators override Repugnican obstructionism to make human and civil rights history

Vermont’s legislators today overrode Repugnican Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto of legislation recognizing same-sex couples’ right to marry, making Vermont the fifth state to have achieved legalized same-sex marriage.

While same-sex marriage was a done deal in Vermont’s Senate, a handful of the state’s representatives had to be persuaded to change their votes in order to be able to reach the two-thirds threshold necessary to smack down the obstructionist Repugnican Douglas’ veto of equal human and civil rights for all of the state’s people.

This is more history in the making.

Vermont, which was the early leader in the push for same-sex marriage in the United States of America, is the fifth state to have achieved legalized same-sex marriage and is the fourth state that currently recognizes same-sex marriage, with same-sex marriage rights in California still being up in the air as the California Supreme Court decides whether or not to uphold Proposition 8, the ballot proposition that in November took away the same-sex marriage rights that the state Supreme Court had ruled in May belong to all Californians under the state’s Constitution.

As of today, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and now Vermont recognize legalized same-sex marriage.

Vermont is the first state to have achieved legalized same-sex marriage through its legislature, the Associated Press notes; the other states achieved legalized same-sex marriage via their top courts, which ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage violates their states’ constitutions’ guarantees of equal human and civil rights for all.

New Hampshire might be the next state to adopt legalized same-sex marriage.

The pink dominos are a-topplin’!

Since the California Supreme Court ruled in May that Californians are guaranteed same-sex marriage rights under the California Constitution, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont all adopted legalized same-sex marriage.

I can’t see how this fact won’t have an effect on the California Supreme Court justices’ decision (expected no later than in June) as to whether to uphold or strike down the results of Prop 8. The justices are, after all, human beings (even though six of the seven of them were appointed by Repugnican governors), and they do not exist in a political vacuum.

The toppling pink dominos, state by state, should only further convince the California Supreme Court justices that they made the right decision in May.

And history will show that the Repugnicans were nothing but obstructionist at best when it comes to same-sex marriage and other non-heterosexual rights.

The AP notes that the petulant, anti-democratic Douglas had huffed that there were other more pressing state issues than the rights of Vermont’s non-heterosexuals.

Sure, when your own rights are secure, as are stupid (presumably heterosexual) white man Douglas’, it’s pretty fucking easy to tell others to shut the fuck up and sit the fuck down when it comes to their rights, isn’t it?

The majority of those who oppose same-sex marriage are “Christians,” aren’t they? Did Jesus Christ not teach to do unto others only as you would have others do unto you? How many of these “Christians” who so casually want to deny others their equal human and civil rights would want their rights denied them? 

And isn’t the Repugnican Party the party that can’t shut the fuck up about “freedom”? If they’re so much about freedom, then why is it that it has been a long, hard struggle since the nation’s founding for anyone other than rich (presumably heterosexual) white men to have equal human and civil rights? 

Why has the history of the United States of America been one long struggle to force the powers that be (overwhelmingly rich white men) to actually live up to the wording in the nation’s founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence’s guarantees of the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — and of equality for all?

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Same-sex marriage in the heartland suddenly changes the game radically

Photo illustration (disclaimer: these dudes may or may not be hot for each other or for any other dude or dudes… [Not that there is anything wrong with that!])

Des Moines, Iowa [from the Associated Press] – Gay marriage, seemingly the province of the nation’s two [liberal] coasts, is just weeks away from becoming a reality in the heartland, and apparently it will be years before social conservatives have a chance to stop it…. The only recourse for opponents appeared to be a constitutional amendment, which couldn’t get on the ballot until 2012 at the earliest….

I wanted to allow the news that Iowa right now is the third state with legalized same-sex marriage (after Massachusetts and Connecticut) to marinate my brain for a little while before I chimed in on the subject.

My first thoughts were that I had never even heard that Iowa was even anywhere close to having legalized same-sex marriage; why did this news apparently come out of the blue? I also wondered how safe legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa was, since we Californians had legalized same-sex marriage for fewer than six months before the wingnut “Christo”fascists, with Proposition 8, took our rights away like Cruela De Vil took away the puppies. And, of course, I was miffed that Iowa beat my home state of California.

I am happy to have learned since that Iowa’s same-sex marriages seem to be safe from wingnut “Christo”fascist reversal for at least the next few years. Whew.

And Iowa did and did not beat California on the same-sex marriage issue, depending upon how you look at it.

As of right now, today, Iowans have same-sex marriage rights but Californians don’t. Iowans. (Did I say “Iowans”?)

But California’s state Supreme Court did beat Iowa’s state Supreme Court to the same-sex marriage issue. The California Supreme Court ruled on May 15 that same-sex couples in the state must, under the rights guaranteed to them by the California state Constitution, be able to marry legally.

The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled yesterday — let me say again that the court ruled unanimously — that same-sex couples in Iowa must be allowed to wed legally. (California’s highest court had ruled in favor of same-sex marriage by only 4-3, I’m chagrined to admit. However, six of the seven California Supreme Court justices were appointed by Repugnican governors, so that gives the 4-3 ruling more significance, I think. [Iowa’s Supreme Court also has seven justices, by the way.])

California was the second state, after Massachusetts, to have achieved legalized same-sex marriage. (Massachusetts was the first to have put a same-sex couple on the moon, so to speak, with its top state court ruling in 2004 that to ban same-sex marriage violates the state’s constitution.) This past November, Connecticut became the third state to establish that same-sex marriage must be allowed under state law. Iowa is the fourth state to have achieved legalized same-sex marriage.

After California made it to No. 2 in May, a slim majority of California voters — swayed by millions of dollars that the Mormon and Catholic cults poured into hateful, bigoted and false political advertising in the state — decided in November (with Prop 8) to write ignorance, hatred and bigotry into the California Constitution, so that today, same-sex couples may not legally marry in California.

The California Supreme Court in May had ruled that state codes (over which the court has full jurisdiction) outlawing same-sex marriage were unconstitutional; at that time, the state’s Constitution (which is the upper limit of the court’s jurisdiction) did not prohibit same-sex marriage, so the haters decided (with Prop 8) to write unlawful, un-American discrimination into the state Constitution.

The California Supreme Court is expected to rule no later than in June on whether the results of Prop 8 will be upheld or shot down. It remains to be seen whether the same California Supreme Court that in May granted same-sex couples the right to marry will decide whether it has jurisdiction over the constitutionality of the state Constitution itself; this is a very sticky legal issue. (I believe that of course the court can shoot down anything the voters approve that is unconstitutional, under the principle that the tyranny of the majority over oppressed minorities must not stand, that equal human and civil rights may not be put up for a vote. But, of course, I’m not a lawyer…)

Just the day before yesterday, it was looking pretty gloomy for California; would the state Supreme Court shoot down the will of 52 percent of California’s voters?

With only Massachusetts and Connecticut having legalized same-sex marriage as of just the day before yesterday, it probably seemed safer for the California Supreme Court to shoot down same-sex marriage then than it does now, with Iowa poised to recognize same-sex marriages on April 24.

Suddenly, same-sex marriage isn’t the province of only the liberal East and West coasts (or, as they sometimes call my coast, the “Left Coast,” a designation that I embrace wholeheartedly).

Suddenly, same-sex marriage isn’t just a solid blue-state thing anymore. Suddenly, it’s about what it always has been about all along: equal human and civil rights for every American.

Take a look at where Iowa is on the map:

(Iowa, for those of you who need the assistance, is “IA.”) There it is, Iowa (IA), surrounded by Kansas (KS), Nebraska (NE), South Dakota (SD) and Missouri (MO). (Iowa, in case you were wondering, went to Barack Obama, 54 percent to Repugnican John McCainosaurus’ 45 percent. Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Missouri all went to McCainosaurus, with Missouri being the closest, 49 percent to 49 percent, with Obama losing to McCainosaurus by fewer than 5,000 votes.)

When same-sex couples in Iowa are getting married, will the California Supreme Court — which already ruled, in May, that same-sex couples in California should be able to marry legally — uphold the bigots’ Prop 8?

I tend to think not.

But even if the California Supreme Court does uphold Prop 8, will the California voters, the next time that the issue of same-sex marriage were put before them, vote in such a way that California is outdone by Iowa?

I don’t fucking think so.

P.S. Making all of this even more interesint is that the fifth state to have achieved legalized same-sex marriage might be the state that started it all: Vermont.

Vermont, the first state to offer same-sex couples civil unions (which confer all of the state rights granted to married heterosexual couples except for the title of “marriage”), might be the fifth state to achieve legalized same-sex marriage if the state’s House of Representatives, which this past week voted 95-52 for legalized same-sex marriage in the state, can override Repugnican Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto threat, which would require two-thirds of the house members to vote for same-sex marriage. (Um, how in the fuck did Vermont end up with a Repugnican governor anyway?)

If Vermont’s House of Representatives can get just five of the “no” votes to switch sides, Douglas’ veto can be overriden; Vermont’s Senate already overwhelmingly voted in favor of same-sex marriage, 26-4.

Douglas’ promised veto could be overriden as early as within the next week.

P.P.S. OK, so I’ve bashed Iowa some here, but I noted this paragraph in an Associated Press story:

Iowa has a history of being in the forefront on social issues. It was among the first states to legalize interracial marriage and to allow married women to own property. It was also the first state to admit a woman to the bar to practice law and was a leader in school desegregation.

OK, so I guess that I am humbled. My state — which used to be considered the bellwether state, didn’t it? — achieved legalized same-sex marriage but couldn’t keep it. However, I’m confident that we’ll get it back.

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