Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: email@example.com
The keys will be what Republican Gov. Jim Douglas decides to do and just how many votes Speaker Shap Smith can round up in the House of Representatives. The most recent informed speculation I've seen comes from an article in the Burlington Free Press:Gov. Jim Douglas opposes same-sex marriage legislation, but won't say whether he'd veto a bill until after it comes out of the Legislature. "He'll wait until the bill arrives," spokeswoman Dennise Casey said, but she criticized the Legislature for diverting its attention from the economy.
Douglas could allow the legislation to become law without his signature. He's taken that route before on controversial pieces of legislation.
The significance of all this: Vermont would be the first state to legalize gay marriage legislatively, without being prompted by a court order. That wouldn't reshape the debate over same-sex nuptials overnight, but it would make it a little harder for social conservatives to use the judicial activism argument. Plus, the long-term success of the gay rights movement depends on victories in statehouses, more so than courthouses.
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