Vermont Lawmakers Legalize Gay Marriage

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Vermont became the fourth state to legalize gay marriage, Tuesday.

The state legislature voted to override Gov. Jim Douglas' veto of a bill that allowed gays and lesbians to marry.

The state House overturned the legislation by a  100-49 vote --the minimum needed.  Earlier, the state Senate rebuffed the Republican governor with a vote of 23-5.

"I made my position very clear early on, and the legislature decided to presist in making this a top priority," Douglas said after the decision.

The vote came nine years after Vermont adopted its first-in-the-nation civil union laws.  Vermont is the first state to legalize gay marriage through the legislature.

Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage criticized the state for not allowind its residents to vote on the bill.

"They will tell you the polls say that people are in favor of gay marriage in Vermont, but they're not willing to refer it to the people for a vote," she charges.  "They don't believe their own polls and we don't believe them either."

Gallagher's group has campaigns against same-sex marriage running in New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Iowa.

Besides in Vermont, gay marriage is also legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa. The approval of same-sex marriage in those states came from the courts.

Last year, California's high court legalized gay marriage, but voters overturned that ruling by vote in the November election.

Meanwhile, lawmakers for the District of Colombia voted Tuesday to recognize gay marriages from other states, The Washington Times reports. The move is seen as a major step toward legalizing same-sex marriag in the city.

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