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Governor Vetoes Same-Sex Marriage Bill - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Governor Vetoes Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Gov. Jim Douglas Gov. Jim Douglas

Montpelier, Vermont - April 6, 2009

Gov. Jim Douglas, R-Vermont, has vetoed a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry in Vermont.

The governor says marriage should stay between a man and a woman.

The bill was hand delivered by the secretary of the Senate to the governor's office and his staff.

The veto came shortly after the Vermont Senate held an unusual Monday session. Senators agreed with some changes the House made to the gay marriage bill, and then lawmakers sent the bill to Governor Douglas, who quickly vetoed it.

Just before the governor vetoed the bill he said, "I made my decision some time ago and at this point it's a matter of crafting the message and sending it to the Legislature urging them to do what their consciences lead them to do, most importantly to do it quickly and get on with the business of the state."

Reporter Kristin Carlson: So you haven't been urging Republican lawmakers to side with you on this one?

Gov. Douglas: I have not. That's unusual in a veto override situation, but I think this is such an emotional, divisive, personal issue, it's something that individuals have to decide how to vote on based on their personal convictions and faith and I think each legislator ought to decide personally what to do.

Tomorrow morning, the Vt. Senate will convene at 9 a.m. to attempt to override the governor's veto. That is expected to happen easily in the Senate, since out of 30 senators, 26 supported the bill.

As soon as it finishes there, it goes on to the Vt. House. The House will take up the issue at 10:30 a.m. They too will try to override the governor's veto. It is less certain there. If all 150 members are present, 100 votes are needed for the two-thirds majority required for an override.

Monday evening, Democratic leaders were cautiously optimistic they have the votes needed.

The things to watch will be the six Republicans who supported the bill and the 11 Democrats who voted against it.

The Republicans who supported the bill are being intensely lobbied by those who oppose the bill.

And of the Democrats who voted against the bill, a handful have already said they will vote for an override, not because they now support the bill, but because they want to send the governor a message about the process. They don't like that he announced he would veto the bill before they passed it.

If lawmakers do vote to override, it will be the first time a governor's veto has been overridden since 1990.

Click here to read the governor's full veto message.

Kristin Carlson - WCAX News

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