Howard Dean Calls On Vermont To Approve Marriage Equality

Former Vermont governor Howard Dean appeared before LGBT activists yesterday to demand that Vermont approve its pending marriage equality bill.

A boisterous crowd cheered former Gov. Howard Dean’s support of Freedom to Marry legislation and health care reform Saturday at a Vermont Democratic Party reception at the Hilton Burlington. Dean’s emotional endorsement of both issues headlined his acceptance of the 10 annual David W. Curtis Award. The event celebrated Dean’s tenure as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee — and his 50-state strategy that is credited for helping return the party to power in Congress, and for President Barack Obama’s victory. Dean urged Vermont party members to press forward in this year’s legislative drive to grant marriage rights to all Vermonters, regardless of gender. “Vote your conscience, not your district,” he advised legislators. “Stand up for doing the right thing; for being a human being,” he continued. “Put human rights above politics — because if you don’t, you’ll regret it for the rest of your political career.” Conservatives, he said, should note that the first American soldier to “take a bullet” at the onset of the current war in Iraq was a gay man.

Current Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas has threatened to veto the bill if it gets to his desk.