I'm totally delighted to report that Vermont has legalized same-sex marriage, overriding the governor's veto. Same-sex marriages in Vermont will start on September 1.
This is amazing. It's the first time that a US state legislature has successfully legalized same-sex marriage. (California's legislature tried in 2005 and again in 2007, but both times Schwarzenegger vetoed and the legislature didn't have the votes to override.) In all three other US states where it's legal (MA, CT, and IA), the change happened through the state's Supreme Court.
Thanks to everyone in Vermont who made this happen, and perhaps especially to the final deciding vote, Rep. Jeff Young, who voted against the bill last week but voted this week to override the veto. [Added later: Okay, I'm not thrilled with Rep. Young's reasoning--he says he changed his vote for political reasons even though he's opposed to same-sex marriage--but I'm still glad he voted the way he did on the override.]
See also an article from last week about how the same-sex marriage debate in Vermont has changed since 2000, when the contentious civil-unions law was introduced.
The Legislature must approve a constitutional amendment during two consecutive sessions before the issue goes to a statewide ballot, meaning the earliest that could happen would be in 2012. Massachusetts has a nearly identical process.
So Iowa has at least three years to get used to same-sex marriage before there's even the possibility of a constitutional amendment taking it away. Going by Massachusetts's experience, I'm hoping that'll be long enough for the state's citizens to see that the sky doesn't fall.
Things are good on that front in Vermont too: amending the Vermont constitution requires action from the legislature, and can be done only every four years. The next time that process can start, if I'm understanding right, is 2011, and then it takes a couple of years and a fairly extensive process to pass. So it could happen (there is a Vermont General Assembly election between now and 2011), but it seems pretty unlikely to me.
Four states down, 46 to go! Or, looking at the more manageable short-term goal of Six by Twelve, three New England states down, three to go!
The next most likely one is New Hampshire, where if the currently pending bill passes the Senate, it'll go to the governor, whose plans are unclear. I gather that it's unlikely to pass, but I'll keep my fingers crossed.
(Romanovsky & Phillips's "No Such Thing as False Hope" just came up in my iTunes rotation, moments before I checked Google News and found the news about Vermont. The song is about AIDS, but it has lines that are more generally applicable, including the title, so I figured I'd use it as an entry title.)