Backlash in Vermont
Rep. Marion Milne, R-Washington, sits among photos of her seven grandchildren at her
office in Barre, Vt.. She lost her business at Barretravel agency and had friends of
longstanding would turn against her because of her vote in favor of civil unions. (Toby
Lawmakers Ousted After Civil Union Approval
By Ross Sneyd
The Associated Press
M O N T P E L I E R, Vt., Sept.
Vermont voters had their first chance to weigh in on the civil unions law
for gay couples and they sent a mixed message.
Five Republican state legislators who supported the law granting
gay couples many of the rights and benefits of marriage were defeated in their primaries
Tuesday. One Democrat who opposed the law was also ousted.
Four Republicans and one Democrat who were targeted for defeat
because they backed the law survived their primaries. Another lawmaker who was challenged
for opposing the law was re-elected.
Voters First Chance
It was the first opportunity voters have had to register their views since the Legislature
earlier this year enacted the closest thing in America to gay marriage. The results
reflected the deep split in Vermont over the law.
I voted the straight Democratic ticket, primarily because Im
in favor of civil unions and the Republican Party is on a kick about trying to turn it
back, said Ed ONeil, a builder from Newfane.
One of the chief authors of the bill, House Judiciary Committee
chairman Thomas Little, a Republican, beat back a challenge.
Granting marriage benefits to gay couples is probably
something thats going to take a generation to resolve, Little said.
Targeted for Vote
Two of the biggest casualties among the laws supporters were Marion Milne, who
represents six conservative towns, and John Edwards, who serves on the Judiciary Committee
and represents a couple of small towns on the Canadian border. Both had been targeted by
opponents of civil unions.
Milne said that she knew when she cast her vote that it might
lead to her defeat but that she did the right thing.
Altogether, more than a dozen Statehouse primary races were
expected to turn almost exclusively on a legislators vote for or against civil
unions. Most of those races involved GOP incumbents who backed the law.
Signs imploring voters to Take Back Vermont by
ousting those who voted for civil unions have dotted the Vermont landscape.
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