Midway through Arts Achievement Day this past week (March 25, 2009), word filtered out of the Vermont State House that Governor Douglas would veto a gay marriage bill if it landed on his desk.
Remembering back to the Civil Unions debates earlier this decade, I quickly realized that no amount of quality arts activity taking place in the State House would penetrate the wall of news that the Governor’s press conference would generate. Sure enough, in Thursday’s paper, I searched in vain for even one reference to the dozens of artists, students, advocates, and arts supporters who put on such a creative show at the State House a day earlier.
So…bowing to the inevitable, I have come to understand one key thing:
This year, one way or the other, it’s all going to be about gay marriage--or civil marriage if you prefer.
2009 is not going to be “the year that Vermont turned the economy around (or didn’t).” It won’t be “the year that the legislature finally passed (or didn’t) a motion picture incentive bill that offers a transferable tax credit to those making a film in Vermont.” It won’t be “the year that the legislature increased (or didn’t) the Arts Council’s state appropriation to a level that matches that of the National Endowment for the Arts.”
Nope. This is going to be “the year that gay marriage passed the Vermont House and was signed into law by the Governor (or wasn’t).”
I am forbidden by law to advocate for a particular position regarding pending legislation since I am the director of an independent 501(c)(3) organization that also serves as the official Vermont State Arts Agency. I am, however, allowed to offer fair and balanced opportunities to all people to educate themselves about issues of note.
Trust me, no matter how you feel about it, this is an issue of note.
Many of you have already made up your mind one way or the other on gay marriage. This post, however, is directed to those of you who have NOT made up your mind about whether you support or oppose gay marriage.
Go to the website for those advocating for traditional marriage: Take It To The People.
Then go to the website for those advocating for gay marriage rights: Freedom to Marry.
Still haven’t made up your mind? Go back and do it again, and yet again if you have to. I truly don’t care what your position ends up being. I just don’t want you or your children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren to feel any regret that you didn’t take a position and communicate it to your legislators when you had the chance.
As to where I personally stand on this issue, feel free to draw your own conclusions.