Steve Adams, R-Hartland presented the third amendment, saying bill offers no relief to federal laws hindering full benefits of marriage. (See UTF post on first half of the debate) This amendment would call for Congress to acknowledge civil unions and provide federal benefits to couples. Instead of same-sex marriage. It was a strike-all amendment (meaning, it would kill everything.)
Rep. Floyd Nease, D-Johnson liked the idea of asking the federal government for benefits, but not voiding the whole bill in the process and offered substitute amendment. His amendment would add to end of bill an urging of Congress to erase legal barriers to benefits for same-sex couples.
Both amendments were withdrawn until tomorrow for further discussion in the judiciary subcommittee.
Rep. Bill Aswad (D-Burlington) I rise in support of bill - I was a strong supporter of civil union bill on April 25, 2000 and recites the lyrics to "Nature Boy" from a song by Nat King Cole.
After giving a history of marriage throughout the ages, especially referring to King Solomon's 200+ wives, Rep. Donovan said, "We now have serial traditional marriages given 50% end up in divorce." She continued, "There's only one thing truly equal to marriage and that is marriage."
"My husband died 3 years ago. Is my grief any greater than my friend who lost her partner of 40 years?" she asked. "I don't think so . . . It doesn't matter the way you love, but that you do. Give civil unions respectful burial."
Rep. Suzi Wizowaty (D-Burlington) told of her 30 year long committed relationship with another woman and asked everyone to imagine to kneel in the center of the floor and supplicate for rights that others already have and take for granted.
Rep. Jason Lorber, who started to cry, bravely told his story. "I don't particularly like asking my co-workers permission to marry. But I do."
The same-sex marriage bill PASSES 95/52!
This is enough for approval but not enough to override a promised veto by Republican Gov. Jim Douglas.
It goes up Friday for final approval, a largely procedural step before being sent to the governor.
Thanks to Burlington Press for live feed and photos.