As the Vermont House prepares to likely vote for a same-sex marriage bill—and Republican Governor Jim Douglas promises to veto the legislation—former Gov. Howard Dean spoke at the Vermont Democratic Party reception in Burlington. The former chairman of the Democratic National Committee urges legislators to support marriage equality, reports the Burlington Free Press.
"Vote your conscience, not your district. Stand up for doing the right thing; for being a human being. Put human rights above politics—because if you don't, you'll regret it for the rest of your political career."
Dean adds: Conservatives should note that the first American soldier to "take a bullet" at the onset of the current war in Iraq was a gay man.
Meanwhile, Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas' mailbox and e-mail has been "flooded" with messages. Reports the Associated Press: "In the first two days after he pledged to veto a same-sex marriage bill, Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas' [received] about 1,500 letters and messages." An example of one of the many critical messages: "Your choice to veto is a slap in the face and a firm reminder that in your opinion, my partner and I are worth less than others simply because we are of the same gender," wrote a South Burlington man, saying he refuses to be "a second class citizen in this state."
WCAX-TV reports the state house has also been "flooded" with thousands of messages: "The House Judiciary Committee adjourned its afternoon hearing early to allow lawmakers to read some of the communication. The committee's chair said much of it appears to be from out-of-state, part of an orchestrated campaign to sway legislation here. 'I'm most interested in Vermont communications from Vermont residents, Vermont families, who are telling their stories about why this is an important piece of legislation or telling their story about what their concerns are about this legislation. I am most interested in the Vermont stories,' said Rep. Bill Lippert, D-Vt. House Judiciary Committee Chairman. "
The House Judiciary Committee should vote on the bill this afternoon. It is likely to pass and a full vote on the House floor is expected later in the week.