The Vermont House on Friday approved a constitutional amendment that would remove what supporters say is ambiguous language and make clear that slavery and indentured servitude are prohibited in the state.
The constitutional amendment now goes before voters in November.
Vermont’s constitution states that no person 21 or older should serve as a slave unless bound by their own consent or “by law for the payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like.” The amendment would remove that language and add that slavery and indentured servitude in any form are banned.
The current language is “harmful and threatening to Vermonters who experience the vestiges of slavery,” said Rep. Hal Colston of Winooski to his colleagues. “My truth as a descendent of slave advocates is that this current language gives the appearance that there may be an exception for the existence of slavery and indentured servitude. Language is powerful and the truth shall set us free.”