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Vermont C Connelly mcgil mmmg@netscape.net On 04/20/2000 11:49:00 PM, hrwhite wrote:
>So what is going on in
>Vermont. I always think of
>the area as being very
>conservative. Now they take
>the lead on homosexual
>relationships. I was shocked.
>Harry

Harry,
It's very difficult to categorize a Vermonter. In many ways, Vermont is very cosmopolitan and in others, it never left the fifties. I live in Windham county, which is in southeastern Vermont. We have a very diverse population and because we're so small we are able to interact in a way that you never could in a place with a denser population. My parents moved here 25 years ago because it reminded them of the SI they grew up on.

The bill that will probably be signed into law next week is a result of a Vermont Supreme Court decision (the Baker decision) which stated that same sex couples were being discriminated against because they were being denied the same civil rights as married couples. So,as a result the Civil Union bill was created.

This bill, soon to be law, will allow same sex couples to enter in a civil union that will give them the same rights as married couples under Vermont law (it is not transferable to federal benefits, eg. social security, joint income tax files, etc.) If the Union is to be terminated, it must be dissolved in Family Court, just like a divorce.

Although the votes in the House & the Senate were split along party lines,the majority of the opposition has been led by the Christian right and the Catholic Church. Ralph Terry of the Christian Coalition moved to VT and led the charge against the bill. The majority of the mail we received asking us to oppose this issue were from out-of-state religious organizations. The majority of the opposition made this a religious issue. They claimed that civil union's would ruin the traditional family, that only a man & a women can be married, etc. They would take quotes from the Bible to show that this was against God's wishes. This is why it is being called a civil union and not a marriage and that clergy are not required to perform the ceremony if they are against it.

It's interesting to note that the mainstream Protestant & Jewish clergy has led the support for civil unions. They support the fact that Civil Union's are not a religious issue but a civil rights issue. They support the separation of church & state on this issue.

I'm very supportive of this issue. Same sex couples don't threaten my marriage nor my family life. We have several friends & neighbors who are in same sex relationships and their relationships seem to be more stable than many married couples. I'm also very proud of the fact that my children are growing up in a place where people are accepted for who they are, not what they are.

mimi



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