With a 4-1 vote last Wednesday from Johnson Village Trustees, the village and town agreed to remove a photo representing a homophobic strain of ideology that briefly surged in Vermont.

At a village trustees meeting, Sophia Berard, chair of the Johnson Racial Justice Committee, requested the removal of a photo in the 2000 Millennial Parade collage in the municipal building showing someone holding a sign that read “Take Back Vermont.”

The selectboard had already voted and agreed on its removal.

According to minutes from the meeting, Berard said the sign was “a pretty offensive and homophobic statement.” The sign was held next to a sign supporting Ruth Dwyer, a former state representative and candidate for governor.

The “Take Back Vermont” was a short-lived conservative movement that sprung up at the turn of the century in response to a law passed in Vermont that allowed gay couples to enter civil unions.

Dwyer, a Republican, attempted to capitalize on the grassroots movement, but was defeated in the 2000 gubernatorial race by Democrat Howard Dean.

Berard could not be reached for comment before press time.

Only trustee B.J. Putvain voted against the move. When he asked if the town would store the image, village clerk Rosemary Audibert said yes or they could give it to the Johnson Historical Society.

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