A reader writes:
Speaking as someone who grew up in Vermont and did my share of campaigning for civil unions back in the day, I definitely share your happiness at the move toward full marriage equality in my home state. I'd like to add a minor dissent to your comments regarding Governor Douglas, however. I suspect the Governor is setting up the "distraction" meme as an excuse to not veto the bill when it reaches his desk.
The political and cultural landscape in Vermont has changed since the civil unions debate. We've been living with civil unions for roughly 8 years now and most people have realized that it just isn't that big a deal. As a result, there's been very little controversy regarding the current move toward marriage. Most people are just shrugging their shoulders and moving on. Douglas knows that and has no desire (either politically or, I believe, personally) to cast himself as a staunch opponent of equality.
That said, there is still a small core of opposition whose votes Governor Douglas would prefer not to lose. Moreover, that core of opposition could spark a broader controversy if it were allowed to gain momentum. By arguing that the bill is a distraction, Douglas can defuse both risks at once. He gets to stay in the good graces of the marriage opponents by claiming he's on their side, but he gets to avoid a big fight by arguing it would be a distraction to drag things out with a veto. Everybody wins!
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