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Vermont governor vetoes gay marriage bill

Jessica Geen April 7, 2009
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Vermont governor Jim Douglas issued his promised veto against a Bill to introduce gay marriage in the state.

Last week, the Bill passed through the House of Representatives.

Lawmakers voted 95-52 in favour of the measure, but 100 votes are needed for a two-thirds majority to override the threat of a veto.

In his veto message, Governor Douglas said: “This legislation does not address the inequalities espoused by proponents.

“Regardless of whether the term marriage is applied, federal benefits will still be denied to same sex couples in Vermont.

“And states that do not recognise same sex marriage or civil unions will also deny state rights and responsibilities [to same-sex couples].”

Although the bill will not guarantee federal benefits, it will grant gay and lesbian couples access to Social Security benefits available to straight married couples. They would also be able to claim joint health insurance and make emergency medical decisions.

At a news conference last week, the governor stated that the state’s current civil partnership provision gave gay couples adequate rights and added that marriage should “remain between a man and a woman”.

“For those reasons and because I believe that by removing any uncertainty about my position we can move more quickly beyond this debate, I am announcing that I intend to veto this legislation when it reaches my desk,” he said.

Douglas, a Republican, has called for lawmakers to focus on the economy rather than gay marriage.

To override his veto, the House needs five more votes in favour of the Bill.

Related topics: Americas

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