Mail carrier, school-board member, and all-round good citizen, Linda Weiss is worried about the antigay sentiment that is roiling Vermont voters this fall. It makes her and her partner very anxious. "Suddenly it’s not about Linda and Joyce, the lesbians they know....It’s about ’the homosexual agenda,’" she lamented to a reporter from the New York Times (September 3, 2000). Her fears were focused on a campaign, "Take Back Vermont," organized to oppose reelecting the state legislators who, under court order, voted for legislation last spring that allows same-sex partners to register their civil union in the state of Vermont.
Have opponents really conjured up a spectral homosexual agenda and forgotten the friendly relationships Weiss and her partner have built with neighbors and townsfolk over the years? When the political trumps the personal, the changes that come can be painful, disheartening, and even frightening. Good neighbors on both sides of the fence need to express their political disagreements without undermining neighborly good will and friendships. Vermonters are probably as schooled as anyone in managing such civic differences. And we hope they do-from both sides of the fence.
And it does have to be both sides.
We say that because it is easy to imagine another interview-with one of Ms. Weiss’s "Take-Back-Vermont" neighbors. "No one had any problem when it was just about Linda and Joyce...