Vermont Overrides Governor’s Marriage Veto

The Vermont State House has just, by the narrowest of margins, overridden Governor Jim Douglas’s veto of a bill providing same-sex marriage rights. Together with the state senate’s wider and earlier override, the votes mean that Vermont becomes the first state to enact same sex marriage by a purely legislative process.

As would be expected, passions on the issue ran high across the state. Last week I wrote a short piece on the Associated Press’s surprisingly successful effort, using public records law, to get a peek at how the state responded to Governor Douglas’s commitment to veto the bill, voiced before its original passage.

“I just got thinking, ‘Whoa, it would be interesting to see what mail he’s getting,’” says John Curran, an Associated Press correspondent in Montpelier.

So on Thursday, Curran asked.

In a short e-mail to the governor’s press secretary, Curran cited Vermont’s Right to Know law, and asked for copies of all e-mail and written correspondence the governor’s office had received on the bill after the veto threat.

Douglas’s office invited Curran over the next day to see letters, resulting in an article offering a peek at public opinion, which you can read here.

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Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.