The controversial Blunt Amendment, relating to birth control and religious freedom, was defeated on the Senate floor Thursday.
Both of Vermont’s senators voted against the amendment, which would have allowed health insurance plans and employers to refuse to pay for or provide coverage of, quote, "specific items or services" if their religious or moral beliefs conflicted.
Speaking on VPR’sVermont Edition, Senator Patrick Leahy said the amendment, as written, would have had implications far beyond funding contraception.
(Leahy) "It would allow plans to discriminate against individuals on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, age, disability. I mean, these are the battles we had forty or fifty years ago. I would think that this country has moved beyond it. I’m amazed that it got any votes at all."
(Host) In the end, the vote was a close one, 51 to 48 in favor of tabling the amendment. Olympia Snowe of Maine was the only Republican to vote against it. Three democrats crossed party lines, voting in favor of the amendment.