Dale Carpenter reacts to the news from Vermont:

There are number of notable things about the developments in Vermont. First, over time and by degrees, people accommodate themselves to the recognition of SSM. That's also been the experience in Massachusetts and in foreign countries. Second, civil unions need not be the dead end some SSM advocates have feared.

And third, the story of the SSM movement is shifting from a judge-dominated narrative to a more democratic one. But the movement has been more complex than this either/or suggests. There is an intricate interplay between judicial decision and democratic action. In Vermont, judges got the ball rolling, the state began to debate the issue, with annual lobbying by SSM advocates, and now the legislature is on board. In California, the legislature got the ball rolling with domestic partnerships (and even marriage), judges pushed it along faster last year, and the voters have called a halt (for now).

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