In 2000, the Vermont Supreme Court passed a law allowing civil unions. The gay and lesbian population was celebrating the victory while those opposing were in an uproar.
The battle wasn’t over.
In the midst of the controversy, David Moats toured the state delivering speeches about the series of editorials he wrote defending the rights of those seeking civil unions.
Moats will be speaking at the college at 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 27 in Herrick Auditorium about the research and writings that led up to his Pulitzer Prize.
“The atmosphere was so tense and heated,” Moats said. “It was a great challenge to see through the issue without contributing to the hysteria.”
Moats followed the legislatures moves issue step-by-step and responded accordingly with his editorials.
“It was the biggest controversy Vermont has had in years so I paid close attention,” Moats said. “A year later, I won the Pulitzer prize, which thrust me into the spotlight.”
Through the debate, Moats became known as a spokesman for the gay/lesbian population. He recounted one day when someone told him that his editorials were the only thing that got her through the day.
“It felt good to see my job had a positive impact,” Moats said.
Moats interviewed many homosexual people, delving into the lifestyle he was “not familiar with.” He said that after a while, it was hard to see any differences in the lifestyles, though it was hard to get accustomed to talking about personal issues with others.
“For a lot, it was a very scary thing. It made a big difference that someone was on their side,” Moats said.
Librarian Sandy Duling and Journalism Professor David Blow joined together to invite Moats through Academic Dean Joe Mark’s lecture fund. Duling tries to bring in a Vermont author to the college every year for her library series that in the past featured Tom Wicker and Ron Powers.
“It’s not everyday you can invite a Pulitzer Prize winner,” she said with a smile.