Smiling Faces of Our Neighbors In Support of Equality

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What a great photo of last evening’s vigil in support of gay marriage equality. This one makes Woodstock Early Bird smile. We appreciate that group of about 20 is gathered with the Windsor County Court House behind it — a compelling reminder that Vermont was way ahead of the rest of the country on issues of respect and equality with regard to her citizens.

Woodstock Early Bird was among those who covered Hartland Town Clerk Clyde Jenne, who came out as gay, on that spring Saturday morning in 2000 when he opened the office early so that the minute Vermont civil unions became law, he could help partners become official. International press. Not a dry eye in the house. We saw the impact of a law that was helping to break down walls.

We understand marriage equality/the definition of marriage is a controversial issue which is why it has turned up in the U.S. Supreme Court. We understand and respect those with religious views who do not embrace the idea of an evolving concept of marriage. However, it is History 101 that those who created this nation were seeking freedom from religious persecution. Religion, especially in the United States, should not be used as a reason and a means of imposing law.

Religion is a worthwhile and important guide for individual lives, but religious ideas of imposed inequality, separation and hatred have no place in government in 21st century United States life.

We could go on about another History 101 concept of the separation of church and state and the fact that if churches really want to get involved in the politics (as they already are) these churches should give up their tax-exempt status. The taxpayers get to speak and the taxpayers have the vote. Until churches admit their political and corporate orientation — and pay the price of admission — they should keep their views and imposition of their views where they belong, under church roofs to their already avowed and obeisant church brethren.

We don’t think those who adhere to their religious philosophies wrong for their individual views just as we don’t think those who would like to see gay marriage are wrong for theirs. But this is about government, NOT RELIGION, government that either raises people up or keeps them down.

There should be room for all our points of view, but it’s more personal than that: There should be room for all our contributing residents to live life equally here in Woodstock and to be raised up since they ARE our neighbors: SEE ABOVE PHOTO!

Woodstock Early Bird doesn’t care with whom people are paired or singled-out, just so long as they pay their taxes, shovel their walks, pick up the dog poo and keep the noise down, okay?

10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Suzanne Keating on March 26, 2013 at 09:02

    Very well said!! Please post your entire statement somewhere on the net and/or in a printed “letter to the editor” type format. More people need to read such clarity and move away from their confused emotional states.

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  2. Posted by Bruce Seely on March 26, 2013 at 09:17

    Wow Julia! Well said. Thank You.

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  3. Posted by Kim Kakerbeck on March 26, 2013 at 09:27

    First, I would like to thank all the folks who participated last night, in particular our staight allies. Secondly, Early Bird comments are perfectly on point and I thank you for the eloquent report. Civil Marriage, which is what we are fighting for, is a government “mechanism” having nothing to do with religious marriage ceremonies. Those supporting marriage equality are in no way suggesting that religious institutions be required to perform same sex marriages (though some are doing that now and more will be following suit). I agree if religious organizations are going to get into the field of political debate and apply their belief system on citizens that may have no affiliation with religion then their status has changed and they should pay taxes like the millions of gay people who pay taxes in this country without receiving the full benefits of citizenship….I.e., taxation without representation! Respectfully,
    Kim Kakerbeck

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  4. Posted by Kim Kakerbeck on March 26, 2013 at 09:40

    Another point I want to make is while the great state of Vermont embraced same sex marriage several years ago, and was the first to institiute civil unions way back in 2000. Thank you Howard Dean! The latest oral arguments that the Supreme Court is taking up this week concerns marriage
    on a federal level. While Vermonters can get married here and receive state benefits they have no access to the federal benefits that come with marriage (I.e., social security benefits, no taxes on inheritance when a spouse dies, etc). Kim Kakerbexk

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  5. Posted by Andrea Sand on March 26, 2013 at 10:13

    Wonderful photo. And thank you Julia for the nice “shout out” to Clyde Jenne. I knew him when I lived in Hartland — he’s a great guy.

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  6. Posted by Terry Davis on March 26, 2013 at 11:49

    Well stated by all!
    In my opinion this shouldn’t have anything to do with religion and everything to do with supporting people who want to make a commitment to the one they love. Discrimination of any sort shouldn’t have any role in today society. I’m very thankful to have such support from my family and friends who have accepted me for who I am and the people I have loved throughout my life. Vermont is a special place and I’m very thankful that gay marriage is acknowledged and has been an accepted by so many. Everyone should be able to make a commitment of marriage to their partner whether they are straight, gay, black, white, yellow, red, etc. They should also be treated the same as others and that includes being supported by the government. To know that your marriage stops at the state line is ridiculous. As a tax payer and a gay women; I pay my taxes and I’m part of my community. If I choose to marry my partner I should be able to have the same rights as any other married couple. To know that you are not privy to the same tax benefits as other married couples is a hard pill to swallow. Most gay people are not a burden on the government but pay a great deal of taxes to support government programs.
    This shouldn’t be about religion or the church. We live in the 21st Century and we shouldn’t be discriminating against anyone especially someone who loves another and wants to make a life time commitment to that person.

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  7. Posted by Bob Pear on March 26, 2013 at 12:07

    I too support equal rights. I was fortunate to have been brought up in the times when our moral consciousness was raised regarding civil rights. But I find it interesting, you say, “There should be room for all our contributing residents to live life equally here in Woodstock and to be raised up since they ARE our neighbors”, yet then you say, people should “shovel their walks”. Since almost 3/4 of the residents don’t have a public sidewalk in front of their house and those 1/4 that do are required to clear those walks at their own expense and under punitive, (government), threat, it seems pretty obvious that those 1/4 are not living life equally.

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    • Bob, duly noted. The comment was a general comment, having to do with the topic of the post. We have plenty of opportunities to discuss sidewalk issues. Right now, the law says we have to clear the sidewalks and you know WEB has come out in support of a universal clearing plan for the Village. However, that’s not how things are right now.

      We might add that someone, we presume an interested neighbor, kindly cleared your sidewalk while you were away which we all, walking citizens, appreciate.

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      • Posted by Peter Shoemaker on March 26, 2013 at 20:11

        Mistress of the Early Bird you must be kidding with your response to Mr. Pear about his statement equating the legal rights of shoveling a sidewalk to the right to marry the one you love and having the same protection/rights under the law no matter your orientation. He bought his property knowing that his responsibilities included the clearing of the sidewalk in front of his property. He can move if he doesn’t like his situation, but where is someone to move if their civil rights are being violated because they love someone who happens to be the same orientation as them. He trivialized this issue and you have always called someone out for such blatant ignorance. How can one be fortunate to be born when “our consciences was raised regarding civil rights” unless you benefited from this movement? Unless one participates in this movement (I apologize in advance if you did) or your own civil rights where advanced, how can you be fortunate? My children are learning about injustice around the world, including our country. I don’t feel they are fortunate to do so as I find it difficult to explain to them why people act in such a manner. I do believe Mr. Pear did not mean any harm but to equate these two issues may show why it is so difficult to advance the rights of all no matter their orientation.

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        • Peter, WEB was trying to delicately suggest that this was neither the time nor the place for a rehash of the shovel issue which as you point out in the grand scheme of this discussion is trivial. Thanks for your additional comment. Picking and choosing one’s battles and where they are or are not appropriate is apparently one long learning process WEB

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