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  Gay Marriage in Vermont Faces Veto by Governor
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Last EditedArmyDem  Mar 25, 2009 11:34pm
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MediaNewspaper - New York Times
News DateThursday, March 26, 2009 05:00:00 AM UTC0:0
Published: March 25, 2009

BOSTON — Gov. Jim Douglas of Vermont said Wednesday that he would veto a same-sex marriage bill if it reached his desk, setting a new hurdle for a measure that had been moving swiftly through the legislature.

But Mr. Douglas, a Republican, also said that “legislative leaders would not have advanced this bill if they did not have the votes to override a veto.”

Mr. Douglas opposes same-sex marriage but for weeks declined to say whether he would veto the bill, which the Democratic leaders of the Senate and House have embraced. The Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill Friday, and a House committee is hearing testimony on it this week.

In 2000, Vermont became the first state to allow civil unions for gay couples, which give them virtually all of the state rights and benefits of married couples. With the new measure, Vermont would be the third state, after Massachusetts and Connecticut, to allow same-sex marriage.

Mr. Douglas said in a statement that it was not his normal policy to announce whether he would veto a bill before it passed the legislature, but that the debate around same-sex marriage had grown too intense to avoid.

“During these extraordinary times,” he said, “the speculation about my decision has added to the anxiety of the moment and further diverts attention from our most pressing issues, and I cannot allow that to happen.”
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