I'm a little bit shaky inside right now. Part of it is the whiplash that comes from moving from a state (Indiana) where LGBT people have been fighting a rearguard action to defeat an anti-marriage amendment to a state where the legislature is actually supportive of marriage equality. Still getting used to that.
The bigger part of my internal shakes at the moment comes from the awesome impact of having my common humanity recognized by my government. And not even by the courts (as grateful as I am to the Supreme Court of Iowa and all the courts that preceded it). Courts are the venues where the frenzy of public opinion is at least supposed to take a back seat to the reason of the law. But the legislature embodies the reasoned voice of the people. They're not bound to explain and justify their votes in the ways that courts are. They can vote any damn way they please. And two-thirds of the House -- and more than two-thirds of the Senate -- of my new state have finally been convinced that same-sex couples can not legitimately, can not fairly, can not reasonably, be segregated into an institution designed to award them formal legal equality while maintaining our cultural inequality.
A number of really thoughtful scholars (Gayle Rubin, Carol Johnson, and Jyl Josephson, to name just a few) argue that in our culture, marriage is the epitome of citizenship. Maybe it shouldn't be, and I'm very sympathetic to Nancy Polikoff's concerns about the undue centrality of marriage. But for the forseeable future, it is. And so one way to think about what the Vermont Legislature has just done is to say that it has finally accorded full citizenship to LGBT people, becoming only the second legislature in the nation to do so (behind California) and the first to override a governor's veto.
The right to civil marriage does not end the problems faced by LGB and T people, of course. But it's a heckofa step in the right direction.