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Civil unions take root in Vermont: the world has not ended.



In an April 2001 photo, Vermonters who had entered civil unions gather on the steps of the Statehouse in Montpelier. (AP)

Take note, folks in the homo-pocalyptic camp of Dobson, Falwell and Phelps. Vermont expected all sorts of political and social upheaval, and what happened when civil unions came to be? =crickets chirping=…From the Buffalo News.

Less than five years ago, the idea of same-sex couples joining in a legal union akin to marriage was enough to rip apart the very social fabric of this small New England state that prides itself on its sense of community.

…Now, though, after 7,364 same-sex couples from around the world have been legally joined as spouses, civil unions have become a part of that social fabric. In a remarkable turnaround, Democrats who were largely blamed for forcing Vermont to confront the issue have returned to political dominance in the Statehouse. The new General Assembly includes five openly homosexual men, up from just one when civil unions were enacted.

“I think there’s still a small slice of the population who, for their own personal, religious reasons, can’t abide anything to do with gay and lesbian people,” said Steve Kimbell, a lawyer and lobbyist who represented civil union advocates in 2000.

But “for a growing majority, the fact that life has gone on as usual means it’s OK. More and more people are understanding who gay and lesbian people are around them,” Kimbell said. “You can’t be mean to people you know. These are people in the fabric of everyday life.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding