All hail from the wonderfully snowy Vermont! I've been AWOL from Bilerico ever since my move this summer (sorry Bil and Alex!), but I'm back with some pretty exciting news to report.
Yesterday, a marriage equality bill (H. 178) was introduced into the legislature here. At the moment, it's got 59 House sponsors (none of them Republican). That makes it only 16 votes shy of a guaranteed win in the House. And at least a few Repubs have indicated that they'll vote for the bill when and if it comes to the floor.
There are some reasonably big roadblocks still in the way. Our Republican Governor, Jim Douglas, doesn't support marriage equality. And our Speaker of the House (Shap Smith), who actually supports the bill, isn't absolutely sold on bringing it to the floor this year, in light of the state's huge fiscal crisis.
So no guarantees that the bill will get to the floor, or that we'll win if it gets there, or that the Governor won't veto it, but it's a heck of a start. And at the very least, it seems pretty clear that the fight over civil marriage is going to be less divisive than the fight over civil unions was nine years ago.
A recent poll of Vermonters indicated that 45% supported "legal marriage for gay and lesbian couples," while an additional 13% indicates that they were "leaning toward support for legal marriage." The margin of error on this poll was +/- 5%, which is pretty sizable, but even so, these numbers indicate that somewhere between 48%-68% of Vermonters are somewhat or strongly supportive of marriage equality. You can download the original polling data here.