Marriage equality: Override numbers update [updated]

The Senate has adjusted their Marriage Equality bill to match the House’s and sent it to the Governor, who should veto it any moment now. With the override vote expected tomorrow morning, here’s an update on the numbers – and who needs to hear from their constituents.

If the pro-equality Republicans hold – and that is a big if (when it comes to Republicans, I am generally highly cynical these days… hopefully I’ll be proven wrong), given that Rep. Westman joined their number, that would leave pro-equality 4 votes short, assuming everyone is there (and I’m still hopeful that some of the no-voting Dems will get the – ah – blue flu).

One vote, as has been pointed out already, could come from the Speaker. And the other three may already have lined up. It’s already out there that no-voting Democratic Representatives Sonny Audette (South Burlington) and Debbie Evans (Essex) are indicating they will vote for the override as a matter of respect for the process, if not a change of heart on the bill itself. Word from the Statehouse is that Representative Bob South (St. Johnsbury) may be the 4th vote that puts the override over. No word on the other no votes – including Winooski’s two Democratic Representatives, who could well find themselves primaried from their intransigence on this issue.

At any rate, these three Democrats – as well as the Republican “yes” votes – need to hear supportive things from their constituents. Be supportive and positive. And that support probably should applaud them for standing up for the process and against gubernatorial intimidation, rather than for equality itself. Here is contact info:

Rep. Bob South:,

Rep. Sonny Audette: (no email, and I hesitate to give out home phone numbers)

Rep. Debbie Evans:,

Messages can also be left for them – as well as Republican yes votes Westman of Stowe as well as Donahue (Washington 2), Wright (Chittenden 3-1), Hube (Windham-Bennington-Windsor 1), Komline (Bennngton-Rutland 1) and Scheuermann (Lamoille 1) – at the Sergeant-at-arms number: 828-2228. Further contact info can be found at the legislative website here.

Update by Julie Waters: Douglas vetoed the bill at 5:38pm.

29 thoughts on “Marriage equality: Override numbers update [updated]

  1. Just to summarize, as a long-distance observer, I believe we have up to 99 supporters of marriage equality: the 96 who voted in favor of gay marriage during either the second or the third vote on the bill (1 was absent during the first vote, 2 during the second, which is why there appeared to be 95 and 94 supporters), plus 1 vote from Speaker Smith, and 2 votes from the Dems who’ve announced they’ll be switching their votes and supporting a veto-override. That’s 99.

    I haven’t heard anyone announce that they’ll be switching to sustain the veto. So best case, we may have 99 in favor, 51 against. If that’s the case, we only need 2 of those opposed to be absent for the vote in order to get 2/3 support for a veto over-ride (because if 99/x = 2/3; then x = 148.5 [cross multiply!], so we need 1.5 of the no votes to be absent).

    If members who originally voted for marriage equality switch their votes and support the veto (or miss the vote), we need more no voters to be absent in order to still get the 2/3 required for a veto override. If we have 98 yes votes, we need 3 no voters to be absent. If we have 97 yes vots, we need 5 absent voters. If we have 96 yes votes, we need 6 absent voters. If we have 95, we need 8 absent voters. If we have 94, we need 9 absent voters. For every vote the marriage equality side loses, we need 1.5 more voters (rounded up) to be absent in order to prevail.

    The senate concurred to the House’s changes without any debate. I’m pretty sure there will be some interesting references to Iowa when this bounces back to the house tomorrow!

  2. In order to override the governors veto the democratic leadership is going to have to unify their party and convince the solid no votes to stay home and stay out of the way of progress. The dems that are willing to change their vote in order to be on the right side of history or to punch Jim Douglas in the face will have to end up voting yes. If this happens we can win even if a few weak republicants cower to Douglas. If there is a dem in your district who voted no send correspondece asking him/her to either switch their vote or stay home and let progress happen! If the Dems can’t pull this off I am going to be livid.  

  3. I don’t care who’s to blame and I don’t care who gets credit.  

    We wouldn’t be where we are without full support from the progressive party’s reps in the house.  We wouldn’t be where we are without leadership (leadership that Peter Freyne had the temerity to mock at the time) in the house and Senate on this.  If this loses, it’s not because of democrats.  It’s not because of progressives.

    It’s because of bigots and opportunists.

    While you guys (to be specific, I’m talking about Odum, Zuckerman and Hoffer) argue about perceived attacks on your own party, I’m finding myself really pissed at all three of you over this.  I say this knowing that all three of you are very strong allies in this fight.  All I’m doing is requesting that we put a breaks on the postmortem until this thing is, you know, dead.

    I don’t normally mind this sort of argument, but it just feels a little different in a thread about my basic rights being in the balance.  It’s sort of like going into surgery and hearing the doctors argue about who’s going to be at fault if I accidentally lose a leg.

  4. …or you just don’t believe it (fair enough). But the point is that reliable sources inside the Statehouse indicate that a third Dem who voted against it (Bob South) is indicating he’ll vote to overturn the veto.

    That’s 100.

  5. If this doesn’t get “pulled off,” you have no right collectively blaming “the Dems.” That would be insulting to all the Democrats (as in, the vast majority of Democrats – I know… math is so hard) who have busted their asses on this issue.

    It was Dems up front on this issue for more than the last decade, even when good lefties like Anthony Pollina were trying to avoid the civil union issue entirely, you had high profile Dems like the then-Speaker of the House, the Lt. Governor and the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee publicly going all the way and advocating full marriage equality.

    My point is not to condemn Progressives, Republicans or whoever. Just to make the point that if this doesn’t happen tomorrow, leaving it at the collective feet of “the Dems” would be BS.

  6. and gave NO justification for doing so.

    The Governor's Discrimination Veto is threatening equal marriage rights. 

    If this bill is saved, it will be because the Democrats rescued it from Douglas’ assault on equal rights. If the Democrats fail to override the veto, that will be a shame, but it is ridiculous to say that the Dem leadership has been anything but courageous in waging this fight.

  7. And even Odum has his golden moments. The staunch support you guys and gals have been giving this issue and this bill has been like water in the desert compared to 9 years ago, when I felt like my life was threatened every single day, every time I drove my rainbow-stickered car. I’m getting a little teary here with wonder and joy. Allies are a great thing.

    Thanks. Whatever happens tomorrow, just … thanks.

    I’ll be at the State House in the morning to bear witness.


    The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brother[/sister]hood. – MLK, Jr.

  8. is not exactly as you presented it

    Steve Hingtgen was on House Judiciary during the civil union period and advocated for full marriage rights from the very beginning

    the House Journal on March 15, 2000 reports that during the debate on civil unions Representatives Dean Corren & David Deen tried to amend the civil unions bill to go all the way to marriage; it received 22 votes (including all 4 Progressives)

    the history of this effort includes a number of elected officials who acted honorably – including Progs; not sure why you felt the need to make those remarks  

  9. What are the issues here exactly? Let’s think about this.

    To me, this just seems like uncalled for, partisan, BS on an issue that is way too fundamental for gamesmanship.. we’re talking about equality here – people just need to vote right.

    Let’s stay focused.

  10. “the history is not exactly as (I) presented it”

    Which is apparently a non sequitur, as you didn’t refute anything – and in fact started talking about Dean Corren & David Deen, which have nothing to do with the history I presented.

    If you’re “not sure why (I) felt the need to make those remarks”, I suggest you’re reading them through such a partisan lens, your reading comprehension skills are suffering badly.

    The point is – again – that collectively blaming “the Dems” if it fails is stupid. That there are no bright-and-clear partisan-institutional lines where fault and/or credit can fully be laid. I take it you take issue with that and are suggesting there are?

    Seems to me that point was obvious. My question is, why would you choose to pick a fight over that point? It wouldn’t be because I use a high profile Progressive politician to make my point, would it?

    Of course, how could it be anything else?

    Gawd you guys need a site like this to rattle your institutional cage the way we rattle the Dems. The partisan groupthink just makes me crazy. It’s so bad you can’t let pass a single thing you see as a slight towards an institution you beatify to a ridiculous degree – and your response is to strain reason in order to recharacterize my statement as something it isn’t (although what you’re trying to characterize it as still seems unclear – you’re just annoyed I remember Anthony Pollina avoiding the issue while some gasp DEMS were more progressive than he was!).

    This is so much bigger than that petty crap. It’s a damn shame you can’t see past it.

  11. Even beating up on Douglas is not helping right now as it gives reason for some of the R’s that we have, to bail.  I think they are solid.  But the one reason they would leave us (since the Governor even made it clear that he was not going to push them) would be a loyalty to circle the wagons around their boss who is getting attacked.

    We need to point out that we are frustrated with Douglas…but to beat the crap out of him will just make him the martyr to members of his own party.

    As for it being on the D’s shoulders at this point…I do not think that is too far a stretch.  We are a few votes short and there were 11 that voted no.  If I am not mistaken, the D and P platforms are fairly similar as far as equal rights issues.  Therefore…one would think that members of either party ought to be voting yes.

    If we can override the Governor on this one it will be a victory for many reasons.  But for politic, right now, the victory to be sought is the issue of equality.  Other politics can be fought later.

    Dave Z

  12. As for it being on the D’s shoulders at this point…I do not think that is too far a stretch.

    No, of course you don’t.

    But I won’t hold my breath to hear you grant “D’s” all the credit if it passes.

    Unreal. Not even the power of history itself can get you to put the kneejerk, irrational, unreasoning Dem-bashing behind you.

    I’m going to bed. This is making me sick.

  13. Sorry to have continued to wrankle folks.  My point was that we need to get the job done.

    I will certainly give plenty of credit to all involved when/if we can get there.  

    In fact, one thing I regularly try to do is be a spokesperson…not a credit grabber.  In every opportunity I have to speak I have credited the leadership as well as the grassroots efforts.  The reality is that much in policy is only possible when there is a really broad effort on the parts of too many to name.  I get that.  

    As for what I wrote…any objective lens would have said what I wrote.  My hope is that we can get a few D’s to switch or walk.  I think it is possible.

    I have spoken with a lot of legislators over the last few weeks and Dem leadership on friday.  The point is that we all (working together) did get 6 R’s (whether we hold them is another matter…but I am still working on that and others).  We do have both I’s, we do have all the P’s (including some who are getting inter family assaults).  I spoke with Dem leadership on friday…they recognize that it is now up to them to get a few flips, but with the continued help of many of us, legislators, constituents, Freedom to Marry, we are all working on this together.

    The delicate matter that I was trying to get across is that we need to get the D’s to flip or walk without losing the R’s.  So the arguments have to be spot on, not broadsides.

    Sometimes subtle messages are lost here when people charge with braodside attacks.  We all need to take a breath and look at the big picture.

  14. you really need to step back and listen to yourself

    you went out of your way to slam Progs gratuitously (or at least leave the impression that Progs were not champions from the beginning); you could easily have made the point about not blaming Dems if the override fails without that bit

    having read this blog for some time, it appears you have difficulty responding without insulting people

    my “reading comprehension skills are suffering badly”?

    you referred to what you think is my “partisan lens”

    first, it was you who made the crack about Progs and second, I think the record shows that I have often spoken of my appreciation for Dems who fight the good fight; in your world, Progs can only bitch about Dems; so tell me again about my “partisan lens”

    and I did not “pick a fight”

    you invited it

    you often provide thoughtful analyses but when anyone responds unfavorably you go into some other place; and if it’s a Prog, your responses are especially nasty (although in fairness, you are nasty to a lot of people)

    what you call “petty crap” was an effort on my part to correct what I saw as a misrepresentation and a gratuitous slap at Progs; and if it’s all so petty, why did you bother in the first place? oh wait, when you do it, it can’t be petty; it’s just everyone else

  15. …and I hadn’t heard how strongly he’s indicated he’ll switch his vote. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

  16. Why does it have to be ALL or NONE of the credit (or blame depending on how the vote comes out tomorrow)?

    If it passes, the Progs, Dems, and Repubs who vote yes all deserve credit, as well as the Dem leadership who really stood strong on this issue…and VFM and the grassroots volunteers who did a lot of work.

    If it fails, IMHO, Douglas and the Dems who vote no deserve the blame (I would also assign blame to any Progs that vote no too, but I don’t think anyone expects any Progs to do that).

  17. I hope that history is not rewritten by folks looking back at such charges.

    I only do what you all do.  At times…when the D’s come up short (not on this by the way…I am talking in general) I speak publically to it.  

    You do it from the safety of the blog world.  I do it in broader public forums.  I believe it is right to speak out when injustices are done (can anyone say DNA sampling for data trolling on “suspected” individuals).  I find it weird that while I work with and agree with D’s at least 80 if not 95% of the time  it is necessary to call me “Kneejerk, irrational, unreasoning Dem bashing”.

    I am sorry.

  18. that was exactly my point; his post was uncalled for and partisan

    and my response was not BS or gamesmanship; it was factual and polite

    I’m sorry if you found my response distracting but I didn’t care for Odum’s personal insults and decided to speak my mind

  19. Name one. I’m dying to hear it.

    If I’d named a conservative Dem to make my point that blame/credit on gay rights moving forward doesn’t fall along party lines, that would’ve been fine. We do that all the time. You certainly have no problem with that.

    If I’d named a yes-voting Republican, that would’ve been fine too. Again, we do that and you have no problem.

    But make the point with a Progressive who famously wasn’t there when he could’ve been helpful – and that’s a personal insult?

    Physician, heal thyself – or at least get some help distinguishing your identity from Anthony Pollina’s.

    Clearly, to make my point as strongly as possible, I used an example that was the most “shocking.” That doesn’t make it any less valid an example.

    But it does – once again – make the point that some of you guys treat your political party more like a church, and it’s leaders more like demigods whose names must not be taken in vain.

  20. Yes, I took the lord’s name in vain (to make a valid point that you wouldn’t have flipped out about had I used a rotten Dem or a nice Republican to make – cuz that’s OK) and you took it personally.


  21. If it fails, IMHO, Douglas and the Dems who vote no deserve the blame (I would also assign blame to any Progs that vote no too, but I don’t think anyone expects any Progs to do that).

    And the Republicans who vote no as well?  One of the real failings of the capital-P Progressives has been to give the Republicans a free ride on many issues.  All too ready to hop on the 10-15% of the D’s who might not be on board on any particular issue, but little said about the 85-100% of the Republicans on the wrong side.

  22. I responded to someone – inappropriately and pre-emptively – making the blame for its failure a partisan thing. That feeling was specifically and directly echoed by Representative Zuckerman (followed by a “let’s not fight).

    I used the most dramatic example I could think of to refute that – making the point that its NEVER been about partisan lines. There have been Dems pushing this from the beginning, just as there are weenie Dems who wont vote for it now. ANd that – yes – even the Progressives have been inconsistent.

    It’s not. about. Party. Period. And I’m not going to stand to be told that it is.

    I am a Democrat. A straight Democrat. I’ve worked on this issue for years. In Oregon, I volunteered multiple hours on the “NO on 9” campaign to prevent the first statewide anti-gay ballot measure from pasing. The next election, I was a field staffer for the “No on 13” campaign and must’ve called or knocked on the door of every citizen in Portland (at least it felt that way). I moved to Vermont and worked at the Democratic Party during the civil union issue and it was painful to bust ass and see all those legislators who did the right thing lose.

    And yeah, I was pissed off when Dean tried to downplay or hide from the issue for a while. Just as I was pissed off when Anthony Pollina did the same thing. (If Mr. Hoffer believes mentioning that constitutes a “personal insult” to him, he needs to realize that a) stating the facts of history does not constitute an insult, and b) He is not Anthony Pollina.)

    Flash forward to today. I pass by the Statehouse after the bigots have their gathering and see one of them in the face of a lone, teenage, marriage equality supporter berating and harssing him. I wait to see if the kid needs help and he seems to – this guy was really in his face. I walk over and the guy gets nasty to me. ANd nastier and nastier. He’s all on about “the children” and how terrible this would be for “the children” who all get hopelessly screwed up without different gender parents.

    I inform him that I was the donor for a lesbian couple in Massachusetts. That the boy is 10, doing great, has great parents, we’re all happy, and what the hell was his problem talking about things (my family) that he knows nothing about?

    Then he insulted my family to my face. Not putting my fist through his face took more energy than I thought I had and left me literally nauseous for the next 2 hours.

    SO I do have a stake in this, even if I haven’t chosen to advertise it online, and I will not stand by and allow these folks to do their same old blame the Dems crap on ME again. This is too personal for that, and it has been for many, many years.

    This is not about Party. If Hoffer can’t see through his religion far enough to discuss that rationally, or if Zuckerman can’t contain his Dem-bashing, I am not going to accomodate them on this. Let them go make it a partisan thing on the Prog Blog.

  23. …but I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not.

    But I’m glad you’re apparently not inclined to pre-emptively dump this bill’s failure collectively on “the Dems” anymore.

    And BTW – I think it’s gonna get overridden. I really do.

  24. Okay, “name one from the comment you were responding to,” is what I intended. Obviously, after you snapped back, my comments on your reading comprehension or inappropriate devotion to party were, by definition, personal. As long time readers know, this is an ongoing argument. I would characterize it as an ongoing rejction of the “sauce for the goose” axiom, whereby Dems and the Democratic Party can be criticized and analyzed critically (as well as the GOP), but folks like yourself have zero tolerance for subjecting the Progressive Party or individual Progressives to the same standard. Clearly, you would characterize yourself as a champion, standing up to some sort of unfair treatment from me. Obviously, I don’t see it.

    I think I will amend my comments though, to take out the intentionality. And if it’s not intentional, I should dial down the rhetoric. I’ve interpreted this as straight-up hyporisy on yer-alls part over the years of this site, and I’m thinking its more complicated than that.

    Instead, I think there’s an institutional hegemony (in the Gramscian sense) going on. With apologies to Kazantzakis and Scorsese, a “One Progressive, many faces” psychology in play, that takes any and all criticism of any one Progressive for any reason as a full blown attack on all.

    If this is the case, I’m not doing any good by blowing my top – even if, as I describe below, this issue is very personal to me. I should simply be patient and persistent in encouraging you to recognize and move beyond that mindset.

    I will endeavor to approach it this way in the future.

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