April 21, 2008
By Dan Barlow
Vermont Press Bureau
MONTPELIER – The Vermont Commission on Family Recognition and Protection said Monday that lawmakers should “take seriously” the difference between civil unions and same-sex marriage – but stopped short of making a specific recommendation on the issue.
The 115-page report by the commission, created by the Democratic leaders of the Vermont Legislature last summer, contains numerous reasons why lawmakers should consider expanding marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.
But those reasons are the voices of Vermonters who attended public hearings over the fall and winter – and not that of the 11 members of the commission.
Commission Chair Tom Little, a former Republican state legislator who shepherded the 2000 civil union law through the Vermont House, said making a formal recommendation was not among the charges of the commission.
“The report will provide a lot of data for decision-makers,” Little said Monday at the commission’s final Statehouse meeting. “I think if it was tainted with a political recommendation, it would hurt its usefulness.”
UPDATED: Our friend MassMarrier has given us the link to the report here, and a link to his article on this issue here.