In a dramatic showdown between the executive and legislative branches, Vermont becomes the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage and the first to do so with a legislature's vote.
This morning the Democratic-controlled House and Senate overrode Republican Governor Jim Douglas' veto of a marriage bill. The vote was 23-5 to override in the state Senate. It then moved to the House, which voted 100-49, which was the exact number needed to override the veto. Under Vermont law, two-thirds of each chamber had to vote for override.
While the broad support in the Senate was predicted, the House vote came down to the wire. Tuesday morning, Democratic leaders said the vote could come down to a single vote, and they were right.
The vote comes nine years after Vermont became the first state in the country to legalize civil unions in 2000. The marriage law will amend the civil unions law to allow marriage of same-sex partners beginning September 1. Civil unions would still be recognized but no longer granted after Sept. 1.
Vermont now joins Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa with legalized gay marriage. Marriage equality bills are also being considered in Maine and New Hampshire.
This has been a great day for democracy.