UVM Hosts Heated Same Sex Marriage Forum - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

UVM Hosts Heated Same Sex Marriage Forum

Burlington, Vermont - January 19, 2008

The issue of same-sex marriage is reemerging as a hot button issue this year.  A state legislative commission is expected to present its findings and recommendations on the issue to the legislature later this spring. Saturday, a group that opposes same sex unions, held an open forum at the University of Vermont.

More than a hundred people filled the seats of a UVM ballroom for a lively and very heated forum about the legality of same sex marriage.

Within an an hour, many of those seats were empty. Some had turned their backs on the panelists, and others were expressing outrage.

The panelists displayed graphs and studies that support traditional marriage between a man and a woman. They say science proves that children raised by a mother and father do better in school and end up leading a happier life than children who are not. "We get our strongest children, when they grow up in intact married families. The data is now overwhelming," said Dr. Patrick Fagan with the Family Research Council.

"There are some studies that conclude that there are no differences in the outcomes of children raised by same sex couples as opposed to married mother, father couples. Those studies are subject to serious challenge in terms of their methodology," said Monte Stewart with the Marriage Law Foundation.

But much of the crowd was not convinced. "The presentation was completely one sided. The research presented was clearly flawed and skewed to make a point," said Beth Freeman, a Vermont Law School Student.

"They're trying to link two things together. On one hand, they're trying to say intact families do the best and on the other hand, if you were to expand the privileges of family to two people of the same gender, it would somehow change marriage. I can't quite make sense of it," said Larry Rudiger, a UVM Faculty Member.

The forum was sponsored by the Vermont Marriage Advisory Council, a Rutland based group that was created earlier this month. The group accuses the Vermont Commission on Family Recognition and Protection, The legislative group that's taken up the issue of same-sex marriage in Vermont, of being biased in favor of gay marriage.  They hope forums like these will convince all Vermonters that more open and balanced discussion is needed on the topic of same sex marriage before the commission makes any recommendations.

Keagan Harsha - WCAX News

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