Thursday, May 18, 2006

The State of the Ban (in the News)

Judith Davidoff’s article, “Taking Liberties,” in today’s Capital Times, discusses the legal and political implications of the same-sex marriage and civil unions ban, as well as where various groups around the state stand on the issue.

She opens writing that the ban would write discrimination into the constitution, an unusual and unprecedented act:

Banning same-sex marriage through a proposed amendment to the state constitution would write discrimination into the 158-year-old document for the first time in Wisconsin history.

She also quotes and names groups around the state who have come out in opposition to the ban, including the ACLU, the League of Women Voters, Latinos United for Change and Advancement, and the Urban League of Greater Madison.

Perhaps most alarming in the article is what the supporters of the ban have to say. Julaine Appling of the Family Research Institute, for example, argues that gays and lesbians are not discriminated against, suggesting that in order for discrimination to occur:

You have to have an immutable characteristic, you have to have financial deprivation and you have to have political powerlessness.

She claims that gays and lesbians have none of the three, and to prove there is no immutable characteristic, she adds:

I've met many, many, many former homosexuals, but I've never met a former black man or a former Chinese man.

Additionally, Gordon Hoyton, a law professor at Marquette University, preposterously argues that it isn’t unusual to take away rights in a constitutional amendment:

The 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery, for instance, prevents individuals from selling themselves into slavery.

Hoyton, perhaps, would have been better off mentioning prohibition, rather than implying that the millions of African(-American)s enslaved and tortured throughout history actually desired their fate.

But that’s not the real point.

The point is, we have an opportunity - and a duty - to ensure that discrimination is not written into the Wisconsin State Constitution. The words of those in favor of the ban bespeaks intolerance, and we must do everything we can this summer - in the next 173 days, and beyond even - to ensure that we live in a safe, tolerant, and accepting society. And to do it, we have to work together - we have to build coalitions of support.

Start by talking to your friends, your neighbors, your family, and your coworkers. Write letters to the editors. Knock on doors. Start out with small steps, but be persistent, and eventually we’ll get there.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home