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Openly Gay Vermont Judiciary Chairman Says Supporters Took Risks

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The Chairman of Vermont’s House Judiciary Committee says representatives who supported the marriage equality bill could be risking their positions.

Vermont House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bill Lippert

Vermont lawmakers today voted to override Republican Governor Jim Douglas’s veto of a marriage equality bill, making the state the fourth in the nation to allow same-sex marriage. The drama was in the State House, where lawmakers last week appeared to be five votes shy of a veto-proof 100.But supporters of gay marriage were able to get the 100 votes they needed for the override. Openly gay House Judiciary Chairman Bill Lippert says many Representatives took a political gamble by supporting the measure.

Lippert: “It would be fair to say that some of the people both who voted with us on the original bill last week as well as those who changed their vote, took a political risk. And we will do everything in our power to support these courageous legislators.”

Lippert is one of five openly-gay lawmakers in Vermont, but was the only openly-gay lawmaker in 2000, when the state passed its first-in-the-nation Civil Unions bill.

Lippert: “In 2000, when we passed Civil Unions, there was well over a dozen legislators who lost their seats. So there’s been tremendous political courage shown in Vermont in support of the gay and lesbian community.”

But, Lippert says there’s little to no chance that an equally high number of legislators will lose their jobs next year. Vermont’s same-sex marriage law will go into effect on September 1st.

— Aaron McQuade

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Written by OutQ News staff

April 7, 2009 at 9:43 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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