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Green and rainbow all over: Vermont marries it's first pair of "hubbies"


I remember 2000 like it was yesterday.  I was entering my senior year in high school and gearing up for college.  As a typical high school/college hippie of the earlier portion of this decade, I was excited to head to the small liberal arts college I was accepted to in Vermont.  With hemp necklace and Guster albums in tow, I recall feeling good about the Green Mountain State for another reason: Civil Unions became legal that year.

This week, our neighbors to the northwest followed suit becoming champions in their own right in the equal rights movement by enacting on a recent vote to legalize gay marriage.  As the clock struck midnight ringing in September 1, 2009, same-sex couples in Vermont celebrated the ability to marry, joining Iowa, Connecticut and our own Massachusetts as the only states in the union to marriage as a constitutional right for couples straight and gay alike.  New Hampshire has also voted in favor, pending a people's veto on their upcoming ballot.  Maine similarly is in the middle of waging a debate to hit the voting booth this November.  

Among the celebration in the state I spent the bulk of my childhood lies a much deeper fight: the view of marriage equality still remains the enemy in the eyes of many who oppose it.  And, the battle is getting fiercer than RuPaul after an Atlantic City Tina Turner lip sync-alike contest.  

Just as I thought the sweeping trend of equal marriage acceptance and promotion was changing the face of America, I came across a few items of intrigue to my morbid curiosity.  A former co-worker, knowing I am gay, incited fury when she told me she felt that I could "do whatever I want to do" but I should never be "allowed" to get married, because her religion told her that was something special between a man and a woman.  Of course, my initial bitchy instinct was to use my philosophy-based education and assert that there are other religions and schools of thought far different from hers, and that here we are living in a country which promotes freedom to exercise these beliefs and she is basing it all on her own way of thinking.  I would have said that, but I was hurt instead.  

Freedom to live as one's true self combating institutional belief and the foundations of our society has long been one giant, messy and disheartening battle here in the US.  Conservatives have fought against marriage between two crazy kids of the same sex, all the while stating that everything else they fight for is for the interest of freedom for all to enjoy!  Meanwhile, I have been standing with many other confused gays scratching my head as to why I can only get married in a handful of states.  

Now that Vermont has granted us the freedom of equal marriage, other states are readying the fight to either do the same or create another California Proposition 8 dog and pony show.  Maine has become another state to hit headlines as a possible Gettysburg for gay marriage.  With the issue of whether or not same-sex couples have the right to marry becoming the prevalent story on Maine's election day ballot, interest groups on both sides are putting on their boxing gloves and airing ads either protecting equal rights or the "traditional" family.

Meanwhile, Vermonters are celebrating.  The GLBT community is cheering it's way up the Connecticut River like a Kathy Lee Gifford production of "Showboat", and the fight continues.  Of course, not everyone is happy.  A NOW blogger described her dismay at Ben & Jerry's renaming their famous "Chubby Hubby" flavor "Hubby Hubby" to commemorate gay marriage in the ice cream company's native Vermont.  Though the first union to take place on the 1st of September was between two long-time boyfriends, some felt that lesbians were being left out of the limelight in this particular celebration.  With such an argument, it's clear that no battle won can come without repercussions, not even from within our own community.  

So again, as appreciative homosexuals here in Boston, many of us (myself included) are excited at the prospect of being surrounded by states that recognize our marriages should we ever be relocated against our wills or by virtue of needing a change of scenery.  While we fight to spread that measure of equality to Maine, to New Hampshire and beyond, at least we can all imagine a pretty radical wedding weekend during leaf-peeping season.  Hey, I may even break out my hemp necklace for the occasion.  Or, perhaps not.  Because hemp necklaces or civil unions alike, the things that sufficed nearly a decade ago simply won't do the trick today.

Comments and questions are always welcome by e-mailing jbraedleyw@gmail.com

Comments

  • FlexSF 5 years ago

    "New Hampshire has also voted in favor, pending a people's veto on their upcoming ballot. "

    What are you talking about? New Hampshire's legislature voted to legalize gay marriage equality, and the law will automatically take effect on 1-1-2010. There isn't any people's veto. Maine is having one, but not New Hampshire.

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