Posted Jan 15, 2008 01:14 am CST
Accustomed to civil unions allowing same-sex couples to form legally recognized partnerships, Vermont residents are now reportedly taking in stride a plan to put same-sex marriage on the legislative table.
Part of the reason for the dialed-down debate this time around may be that no vote is planned in the immediate future. Instead, the legislature has asked a state-appointed panel to seek input from residents, reports the Associated Press. At the earliest, a vote is expected next year. Right now, only Massachusetts permits same-sex couples to marry.
However, observers say that seeing couples in civil unions after they became legal eight years ago apparently has led some former opponents to view same-sex partnerships as legitimate relationships.
It’s a very different tenor,” says Beth Robinson, who chairs the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force. “People have had an opportunity to come to terms. Vermonters have had eight years to see the two guys next door, or the two women down the street who have a legally recognized relationship under the civil unions law.”