Gay marriage commission meets for the first time

No fireworks. No fights. Not even a raised voice.

Vermont’s cautious step toward considering gay marriage began very quietly Thursday morning as the so-called Vermont Commission on Family Recognition and Protection held its first meeting.

After the meeting – the only real controversy came at about 9:30 a.m. when gay marriage opponents held a short press conference explaining why they are boycotting the hearings – I chatted with a few political observers who were around the Statehouse seven years ago during the civil unions debate.

And what struck them was how low-key the whole thing was. They didn’t expect the room to be full, but at least packed. A few signs maybe too. Some activists maybe, both for and against. But nothing like that happened and nothing resembling the circus in 2000.

It gave me some pause and some hope. No matter where someone falls on the touchy subject of gay marriage, it is clear that most people don’t want to fight over it. I think we can welcome the discussion and the debate, but not raised voices, clenched fists and off-color signs.

-Dan Barlow