Legislation

Scott doesn’t back legal prostitution

By Guy Page

Legal prostitution isn’t “what Vermont needs at this point,” Gov. Phil Scott said at his weekly press conference yesterday.

Burlington voters Tuesday approved a charter change repealing anti-prostitution language. The charter change will go before the Legislature for approval this year or next. Meanwhile, a coalition of Burlington lawmakers are pushing H630, whose lead sponsor is Selene Colburn (P-Burlington). H630 would “repeal the prostitution laws that currently prohibit ‘indiscriminate sexual intercourse’ and consensual engagement in sex work for hire by adults (18 years old) while retaining strict prohibitions and felony criminal penalties for human trafficking of persons who are compelled through force, fraud, or coercion to engage in sex work.”

The bill was introduced on Jan. 14 and assigned to House Judiciary, where Colburn is an influential member. Other sponsors are Emilie Kornheiser of Brattleboro, Tiffany Bluemle of Burlington, Brian Cina of Burlington, Katherine Donnally of Hyde Park, John Killacky of South Burlington, Emma Mulvaney-Stanak of Burlington, William Notte of Rutland, Barbara Rachelson of Burlington, Taylor Small of Winooski, Heather Surprenant of Barnard, Tanya Vyhovsky of Essex, and Rebecca White of Hartford.

The sponsors lean heavily towards the Progressive party, although a few (including White, Notte, and Killacky) are Democrats. There are no Republicans. 

Vermont Daily Chronicle asked Scott during the press conference: “Now that Burlington has passed its prostitution repeal, it’s likely that a state bill will be getting a look this session, maybe next. What’s your view on either decriminalizing or regulating prostitution?” The governor responded: “I don’t think that’s what Vermont needs at this point,” Scott said succinctly.  

The bill claims that existing laws “reflect the social mores of the early 1900s, criminalizing not only voluntary sex work but sexual activity outside marriage, and no longer reflect Vermont’s commitment to personal and bodily autonomy.” 

Opponents call prostitution in any form “the choice of the choiceless” because it is inherently oppressive. It is also linked to drug abuse and an increased rate of illegal prostitution.

Some supporters of legal prostitution do not appear concerned about Scott’s statement. After Jane Lindholm of VPR tweeted our question and Scott’s response – “Guy Page asks about Scott’s reaction to Burlington decriminalizing prostitution and if he’d support statewide decriminalization. “I don’t think that’s what Vermont needs at this point,” is all Scott says on that.” – Addison County High Bailiff David Silberman tweeted, “Cool that’s the same answer he gave on cannabis legalization in 2016 so I guess he’ll sign a sex work decrim bill in 7 months.”

7 replies »

  1. That’s telling ’em Governor! “Vermont doesn’t need prostitution at this point”…..maybe next year, sure, but NOT right NOW!

    Be certain to never declare how enabling prostitution is the greatest misogynist pursuit & mentality in the world.

    Never state that it is intrinsically wrong to objectify women (and men) and exchange $$ for temporary sexual use of their bodies and that such a “business” is a desecration of womanhood and a devastating step back for genuine feminism!

    Never let the citizenry that according to governmental stats, over 95% of all prostitutes do NOT want to be “working” as such (INCLUDING those in “licensed” regulated houses of “ill repute”, don’t mention that according to the same stats, that the vast majority of both prostitutes & johns are drug addicts/alcoholics/mentally ill or homeless.

    Certainly, NEVER let anyone see, through verified FACTS, that any & all countries who – in an attempt to decrease sex trafficking by legalizing such “work” – end up INCREASING sex trafficking & INCREASING crime of all types in & around the area where brothels are allowed.

    And lastly, WHO exactly determined that sexual activity outside marriage was “no longer” what Vermont “represents”???

    Have ANY of you godless, amoral progressives EVER been inside of a church??? Well, thousands upon thousands of Vermonters have & are still affiliated and Judeo-Christian mores DO NOT encourage or accept sexual activity outside of marriage!!!

    • 100 percent correct in all your statements. I would bet that Vermont as a whole doesn’t want this obscenity in our state.
      That will make us no better than the Cabal who most likely gets a cut of all the activity that is still going on….and most fortunately are soon to be reckoned with……

      • Veronica, unfortunately, it isn’t what the “Vermont as a whole” wants or cares! It is what the “Voting Public” decides it wants for our State of Vermont! I would have thought that Burlington would have the sense to vote no on prostitution. But i was wrong! I wouldn’t think any less for statewide voters. We will have to create a new motto for Vermont. Any suggestions?

  2. Anyone who thinks that a rich man can’t hire an escort in Vermont or anywhere else is a FOOL. Sex work is work. What its opponents are doing is enabling the very things like trafficking that they rail against. I find it amusing that the very feminists who scream, “My body, my choice” sing a very different tune when it comes to sex work. Hypocrites. Recommended reading: “Sexual Liberty: Memoirs of a Sex Worker’s Fight For Freedom” by Chase Tkach.

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