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Vermont braces for backlash.

The far right launches a campaign to repeal the civil unions law by threatening to unseat pro-gay legislators in November

While Vermont's civil unions law kicks in this July, politicians and activists across the country may be paying more attention to what happens in November. All seats in both the state senate and house of representatives are up for grabs, as is the governor's mansion. Promising a political backlash, opponents of civil unions want to elect a new legislature that will repeal the measure that created them. And they hope the reverberations of the threatened political upheaval will be felt far beyond Vermont's mountainous borders.

"This affects every state in the union," said Bob Garvey of Take It to the People, a Vermont group opposing civil unions. "There is no residency requirement, so one continuing debate is, How portable is this?" Furthermore, he said, similar moves toward recognizing gay and lesbian relationships are brewing in other states. Politicians everywhere need to know there will be a political price to pay for supporting those kinds of laws, Garvey said. "I think we must send a signal to the rest of the country," he added.

But Garvey's hopes could be misplaced. A new poll published in the Rutland [Vt.] Herald suggests that the civil unions issue may not be a political hot button in November after all. Just over half of respondents (51%) told pollsters the civil unions fray won't have much influence on the way they vote. Only 24% said it will.

Nevertheless, Greg Johnson, an assistant professor at Vermont Law School, said, "Politicians all over the country will be watching and reading the tea leaves. This now becomes a national test case. If enough people lose their seats over this, [a civil unions law] is not going to happen anywhere else."
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Author:Dahir, Mubarak S.
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jun 6, 2000
Previous Article:rants&raves.
Next Article:The Nation.

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