More on Vermont

Michael Shell brightcrow at InfoAve.Net
Thu Jan 6 15:12:06 JEST 2000

Dear Friends,

I have the permission of my online friend Peter Holden to share his
response with you.  He helps to put the Vermont action into better
perspective, and also helps me to settle my anger and wait on the Spirit's

Blessed Be,

Date: Wed, 05 Jan 2000 01:22:24 -0500 (EST)
From: PeterHoldn at
Subject: Re: Vermont
To: brightcrow at InfoAve.Net

In a message dated 1/4/00 7:46:48 PM, brightcrow at InfoAve.Net writes:

<< I want to call for vengeance, when what is needed is justice. >>


I hope the Vermont decision is the wedge that opens the door.  If not, it
will come.  This decision is much more in favor of gay and lesbian people
than even the Hawaii decision was, and the language of the court's decision
is actually much stronger.  It also includes a statement that if the
legislature does not act promptly, the litigants will have the right to
petition the Court to take stronger action (implying that they will take it
if necessary.)  I have also heard from a number of sources that the Vermont
Constitution is much tougher to amend (predating as it does the US
Constitution) than the Hawaii one.

In addition, the Hawaii decision was specifically about marriage, which
pushes everyone's buttons, while the Vermont decision goes out of its way
to state that it is not about marriage, but about the equal access to the
rights due all citizens and that the legislature can take either route to
getting there.  I expect that the very language of the decision will create
an "out" that the Hawaii one did not-- allowing the vast majority that
feels gay people should have equal rights while feeling squeamish about gay
marriage to effectively create a civil marriage statute specifically for
gay people.  It is not a substitute for real inclusion in the marriage
statutes, but would be an incredibly valuable early step in the process.

In addition, it may have the added benefit that since "domestic
partnerships" are not mentioned in the Bible, attacks on it will be much
more visibly a violation of the separation of Church and State than most
Americans are currently willing to see when the word "marriage" is used.

A friend pointed out just this evening that he feels a lot of the
resistance to gay marriage comes from the mistaken belief that legalizing
it will force their local congregations to have religious marriage
ceremonies for gay people.  By making it specifically and incontrovertably
a civil process, a lot of that knee-jerk objection may go away, and the
underlying prejudices may well be highlighted.

If we can get universal domestic partnership laws on the books, it seems
inevitable that it will be inherently unstable, as people realize that gay
relationships are not destroying the fabric of society and that "separate
but equal" is and always has been a crock.

So, be righteously indignant.  Continue to hold that your relationship is
just as real as anyone else's (and a damn sight more real than many).
Refuse to [believe these opponents] are speaking for Jesus.  But hold off
on giving up until there is something more concrete to give up about.

Remember: "Love is of God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows
God, for God is Love." And God isn't going to give up on this one, any more
than God did about slavery, or the Inquisition, or any number of other issues.

Also remember: "We don't need to bring our adversaries to their knees, only
to their senses."


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