Vermont Legislature Overrides Veto, Votes in Same-Sex “Marriage”

by gavdana

One Vote in Vermont

So many people, so much effort.  We needed 50 votes in the Vermont House to hold the veto in place.  We got 49.   It all came down to one vote in Vermont.

Governor Jim Douglas stood against the tide for what was right but others chose to waffle under pressure.  Who was that one vote? It could have come down to a number of people, but today it came down to Sonny Audette.

Sonny Audette originally voted for marriage.  Valiantly he stood with the governor against the tide, but as the pressure increased, he waffled, and flipped:

“I apologize for voting this way, I’m a devout catholic,” said Audette.

The 4 term house member plans to change his vote, but not because he’s changed his mind about same sex marriage.

“What I’m doing is changing my contempt for the way the governor has treated the house of representatives,” he said.

Audette says he’s still angry for the way governor Jim Douglas announced his plan to veto the bill before the house had a chance to vote.

That’s why Audette says he’s willing to change, even though he knows he could end up being the one vote that ultimately passes the bill he morally opposes.

“I hope it doesn’t come down to that, if it does, I’ve got some more thinking to do,” said Audette.     –Fox44News

Today, this is how it played out for this one vote.  While everyone else stood and were counted, Rep Audette abstained.

Rep. Sonny Audette of South Burlington did not vote. It wasn’t clear whether he intended to vote to override. Audette opposed gay marriage but also opposed the governor’s early announcement of a veto as “interference.” –wcax.com

Interference?  He abstained because he was offended?  I wonder how he feels about that now.

The last few weeks we’ve had several instances on this theme.  How issues surrounding marriage and families have become so divided among our people that the swaying vote has come down to one, or two or just a handful of people making a principled stand.  Today we have the flip side.

Families could have used your help today Mr. Audette.

For the rest of us, we’ve got to decide, where do we stand?  And are we willing to make that stand, even under pressure?  Even through persecution?  Hate mail?  Angry friends?  What price is there on your vote?

How incredibly powerful one vote can be, and how dear the cost.

—Beetle Blogger

Photo by gavdana


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29 Comments

  1. Delirious said,

    April 7, 2009 at 9:53 am

    I would be ashamed to vote against my beliefs….he should be too.

  2. April 7, 2009 at 10:02 am

    […] Posted by blogger970 on April 7, 2009 From Beetle Blogger: […]

  3. Fitz said,

    April 7, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    How much do we know about this Gill guy and what he is doing in Iowa…

    Did his money help win Vermont? All rehtorical questions unless someone actually knows?

    I think Iowa is the most important….but overriding a veto takes alot – Obviously civil unions only help greese the treds…still, must have been ALOT of pressure and favors being exchanged.

  4. April 7, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Federal Marriage is Coming – Yeah! Morality Wins!

  5. beetlebabee said,

    April 7, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    I guess so…. if you consider a state legislature rushing an unsupported issue through the process while denying the people a say in the matter to be moral behavior….

  6. Gary said,

    April 7, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    I find it amusing that Audette managed to irritate both sides in one fell swoop. He votes against marriage equality and then doesn’t participate in the second vote. What a political mastermind.
    1. He was voted in to uphold his religious beliefs–he’s there to uphold Vermont’s state constitution.
    2. Not taking part in the second vote was an immature way to handle his frustration with the governor.

  7. Gary said,

    April 7, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    CORRECTION
    1. He was NOT voted in to uphold his religious beliefs–he’s there to uphold Vermont’s state constitution.

  8. April 7, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    […] Beetle Blogger has an interesting story on Sonny Audette’s lack of principles. Audette’s non-principled stand […]

  9. April 8, 2009 at 12:50 am

    “I apologize for voting this way, I’m a devout catholic,” said Audette.

    How weak. You don’t apologize for being Catholic and you don’t apologize for supporting marriage between one man and one woman.

  10. Gary said,

    April 8, 2009 at 8:28 am

    SH,
    Interesting perception. Audette shouldn’t be apologizing for being Catholic but he shouldn’t be voting according to his religious values. As a representative for ALL of his constituents, his primary responsibility is to uphold the principles of the Vermont constitution. All of his constituents don’t necessarily share his Christian beliefs, so he should not be basing a vote solely on them. Yes, they do inform his overall values, but at the end of the day, he wasn’t elected as a representative of the Catholic Church.

  11. Anna said,

    April 8, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Or perhaps Audette was elected because of his religious beliefs. Perhaps people voted for him because he held the same moral standings as them, someone that could represent them and their morals. If that is so then he failed in representing the people that voted for him. That is very sad indeed.

  12. beetlebabee said,

    April 8, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Gary, Audette didn’t vote his conscience OR his constituency. He abstained in order to protect his own skin from the political machine that threatened to destroy his political career if he didn’t toe the democrat party line on this vote.

  13. Gary said,

    April 8, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Anna,
    The problem with that is that Audette still represents ALL of his constituents–NOT just the people who voted for him. And his first priority is upholding the principles of the Vermont constitution. If he is voting ONLY according to his religious beliefs, then he’s not doing his job.

    Beetlebee,
    I would agree with you on that point.

  14. Chairm said,

    April 9, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Gary, a vote against the merger of civil union and marriage, is a vote to uphold the principles of the state constitution.

    Audette’s “I’m a devout Catholic” is very weak given that the core meaning of marriage is discernible to Caholics and non-Catholics alike.

    Devotion to a religion is not at issue here. Rather what is at stake is the objective truth by which the government, on behalf of society, recognizes and shows preference for the social instituton of marriage.

    The Vermont Legislature has chosen to recognize and to prefer something else. That’s an affront to all who understand and cherish the advantages that society gains from this foundational social institution.

  15. Gary said,

    April 11, 2009 at 8:08 am

    A vote to dissolve civil unions and extend the right to marry to same-sex couples, is very much in alignment with the principles of equality under law found in the Vermont constitution. You can interpret it the way you want to, but this is my opinion.

    The Vermont Legislature, in my opinion, has chosen to treat all people equally regardless of their sexual orientation. If one group has “advantages” over another, you’re basically proving that this is unfair and discriminatory. We should ALL have the same advantages and opportunities.

  16. chris said,

    April 12, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    I hope you guys mobilize a massive army of anti-gay fundagelicals, because you’ll only make fools of yourselves. I’m sick of hearing about how if my gay son can marry it will ruin civilization or some religious nut’s job. Why don’t you think about that poor bus company in Alabama that laid off people when Rosa Parks refused to go to the back? If I were you, instead of worrying about gay marriage I’d worry about the fact that people are leaving your churches in droves and the fastest growing religion is NO RELIGION. Sorry, there have been too many priests molesting kids, too many ted haggarts playing both fields, and too much reason and morals to allow your bronze age worldview to continue. Facts can be stubborn things, I know. This isn’t about freedom of belief or speech or keeping your jobs. You’re mad because you can’t make people believe as you do that gays are dirty, sinful abominations.

  17. beetlebabee said,

    April 13, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Chris, while I agree with your assessment of the link between degrading societal trends and the rise of homosexuality’s acceptance, I fail to see how that is helpful to your argument.

  18. April 13, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    The Vermont Legislature, in my opinion, has chosen to treat all people equally regardless of their sexual orientation. If one group has “advantages” over another, you’re basically proving that this is unfair and discriminatory. We should ALL have the same advantages and opportunities.

    Gary, does this mean that siblings are allowed to marry each other too? It would be unfair and discriminatory under your reasoning.

    Since Vermont wants to treat me equally regardless of my sexual orientation, does that mean I can marry my dog because I’m sexually attracted to it?

  19. April 14, 2009 at 4:28 am

    Secular Heretic “…does this mean that siblings are allowed to marry each other too? It would be unfair and discriminatory under your reasoning…Since Vermont wants to treat me equally regardless of my sexual orientation, does that mean I can marry my dog because I’m sexually attracted to it?”
    Siblings can’t (generally), because they have kids with webbed toes and eyes that are too close together, and dogs can’t give informed consent.

  20. April 14, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    The point I’m making is that sexual orientation has nothing to do with a person’s eligibility to marry. Before getting married you must prove your age and demonstrate that you are not already married. Never do you need to prove your sexual orientation. How could you prove it? Sexual orientation is not a criteria for marriage.

    As you pointed out Modus, informed consent is needed in a marriage and you have acknowledged the presumption of paternity within a marriage.

    This gets to the core of what marriage is, a both sexed arrangement with the presumption of paternity. Same sex marriage is non existent because it is single sexed and there is no presumption of paternity. Never do you presume that when you see two guys pushing a babies pram that the child is a product of their love together!

    We could change laws and call same sex unions “marriages” but they would not correspond to what a marriage actually is. It would also cause confusion within society. When I tell people that I’m married it is assumed that I’m married to a person of the opposite sex. That is because the word marriage defines the type of relationship I have.

  21. April 14, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    Secular Heretic “As you pointed out Modus, informed consent is needed in a marriage and you have acknowledged the presumption of paternity within a marriage.”
    Except for divorce/remarriage, adoption and donated egg/sperm, yes. Funny how grey things get once one factors in the exceptions, eh?

  22. April 14, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Secular Heretic “It would also cause confusion within society. When I tell people that I’m married it is assumed that I’m married to a person of the opposite sex”
    Don’t worry. You get used to it. A co-worker of mine had a marriage not work out. She still bitches about her ex-wife.

  23. Gary said,

    April 15, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    SH,
    I’d say that you’re smart enough to know that marrying your sibling and your dog are different than marrying someone of the same gender, but apparently I’d be wrong. And you’re wrong to say it is discriminatory to limit that. The same restrictions still apply to marriage (no siblings, no dogs, etc) but they are now applied regardless of sexual orientation–meaning that aman can marry an (eligible) man and a woman can marry an (eligible) woman. If you can’t figure that out though, that’s unfortunate.

    Also, I found it funny that beetlebee got that Chris was saying that bad things happened as a result of “the rise of homosexuality’s acceptance.” This totally missed the point. Just goes to show you how perception equals reality.

    And I was shocked that some recent post haven’t been more anti-gay. C’mon you can do it better than that! I’m sure that your condemnation of all things gay always makes you feel that much more loving inside. What a wasted amount of time and energy.

  24. beetlebabee said,

    April 16, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Gary, sure, they’re different, but only marginally. The point is, what would you say the boundaries of marriage are, and on what premise do you base those boundaries? Justifying removing the boundaries proves that they are pointless, arbitrary lines. There are good reasons for the restrictions, regardless of sex or orientation.

  25. April 16, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Gary, why should a same sex couple be given the legal right to marry but not a group of three? Perhaps you believe that a threesome should have the right to marry, I don’t know. What principle is involved that allows same sex couples but not other arrangements?

  26. Gary said,

    April 16, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    I’m not sure if this is worth the effort, but here goes.

    Gay men and lesbians want to marry the ONE person of their choice. And the fact that this one person is of the same gender has previously made them ineligible. But otherwise they would be eligible: they are of legal age, they aren’t a close relative, etc.

    So, polygamy does not apply here. Being able to marry MORE THAN ONE PERSON would be, for lack of a better word, a bonus. The gay man who can’t marry his male partner gets no one, but the polygamist man who wants to marry a second wife, gets to keep his one, original wife.

    So, the principle would be that the gay man and lesbian should not be discriminated against (and by that I mean “separated’) due to their sexual orientation. They shouldn’t be discriminated against by not allowing them to marry the ONE person of their choice.

    So, polygamy is really a separate issue. Gay men and lesbians just want to have access to the same civil institution that straight people already have. Polygamy is much more about choice. A man who wants to marry more than one woman isn’t saying that he isn’t attracted to his first wife–he just wants more than one wife. While a gay man or lesbian (not including bisexuals for the moment) will not be attracted to a person of the opposite gender. So if you deny them the freedom to marry a same-sex partner, then you are denying them the ability to be treated the same as a straight person (since marrying an opposite-sex partner is not a realistic option).

    So, the principle is that everyone gets to marry at least ONE person of their choice. ONE of the reasons that courts are ruling in favor of same-sex marriage is that there is no legitimate state interest in denying same-sex couples the right to marry. So, it’s not a slippery slope as many on your side seem to want to imply. The case for any of these other arrangements would be going beyond the scope of the courts–gays and lesbian are looking for a seat at the same table and to be treated equally.

  27. beetlebabee said,

    April 17, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Gary, I can see what you’re trying to say here, and I appreciate it. I can see that your response has a lot of thought in it. How is a numerical limitation not arbitrary though? Are there social science reasons or moral reasons to support one number over another?

  28. April 17, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    I’ve asked this question many times Gary but know one has ever attempted to answer it except for you. Thanks.

    What I think you are saying is that same sex arrangements have no marriage while a future polygamous arrangement already enjoys the benefits of marriage. I can see why you think this is not fair. This still makes it an opposite sexed same sexed issue though.

    Since you believe that two people of the same sex can marry each other, can three people of the same sex marry each other? If you think we should not allow a same sexed threesome, what principle allows the same sex couple but not the threesome to marry?

  29. Gary said,

    April 18, 2009 at 8:07 am

    There are two different principles being discussed here.

    1. The first is a matter of constitutional law, meaning that everyone is to be treated equally under the law. So, again extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples would achieve this. It levels the playing field. As I implied in the previous entry, this is not an “extra” thing being asked for–it is giving us all a seat at the same constitutional table (regardless if some of the other people at the table are uncomfortable with it). The institution of TWO-PERSON CIVIL MARRIAGE is already a given. So gays and lesbians deserve equal access to the already-existing institution of CIVIL MARRIAGE.

    2. The question of why a three-person marriage is not ok is less a matter of constitutional law, because it doesn’t necessarily address issues of equality. If all people (straight and gay), were allowed to marry ONE person, then you could see how the ability to marry another person is an “extra” thing. A polygamist isn’t being treated unfairly (in my opinion) at this point, because no one has the freedom to marry more than one person.

    My person opinion (based on nothing but my own thoughts and not on law at all) is that polygamy does not encourage equal partnership. My limited understanding is that most of these arrangements are with one guy and his multiple wives. To me this elevates the man to be above the women and I think that we can all agree that even if the women are ok with this arrangement, it certainly doesn’t treat them as equal to the man. I don’t know anyone in these arrangements so that’s just my opinion. Bottom line though, I support marriage for gay people and DON’T support polygamy for the same reason: to ensure that people are treated equally and fairly.


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