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A Baby Step Forward, An Olympic Long Jump Back

Governor Walker is attempting to rid Wisconsin of the Domestic Partnership Protections enacted a few short years ago. How far back in time does he want this political machine to go anyway?

Governor Scott Walker filed a motion last week requesting to withdraw the defense of the Domestic Partnership Registry. Less government? Fiscally minded? Don't see the connection. Regardless, let's go over the time line.

November 7, 2006 – Voters approved an amendment to the Wisconsin constitution prohibiting gay and lesbian marriage. This Amendment has been argued to be in violation of law since it addressed more than one topic – gay marriage and civil unions, two very different things. This amendment was authored by then Senator Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Representative Mark Gundrum (R-New Berlin).

June 29, 2009 – Governor Doyle signed into law the Domestic Partnership Protections. This was a great advancement for Wisconsin as it became the first Midwestern state to enact protections for same sex couples after they registered as a couple and met certain criteria. These protections include: requirement of hospitals and nursing homes to allow visitation for domestic partners, allow partners to make end of life decisions, inheritance protections and permitted Family Medical Leave for the serious illness or death of a domestic partner. The fact that this had to be put into law in the first place seems outlandish to me.

July 23, 2009 – Wisconsin Family Action and The Alliance Defense Fund filed an action with the Wisconsin Supreme Court arguing that the registry is not in compliance with the State Constitution. Governor Doyle appointed Lester Pines to defend the registry against this action.

November 4, 2009 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to hear the case. So, the WFA filed in Dane County Circuit Court.

March 24, 2011 – Walker fired Attorney Pines.

May 13, 2011 – Walker files request to end the defense of the registry, agrees that it is indeed unconstitutional and makes it known he wants this registry to end.

As far as it's constitutionality - I say pish posh!! The (possibly illegal) Amendment prohibits marriage and the like. Domestic Partnership is NOT “substantially similar” to marriage whatsoever. Marriage provides heterosexual citizens with over 200 protections under Wisconsin Law and 1,138 protections under U.S. Law. Domestic Partnership – an embarrassing 43. Similar, I think not.

These protections are a mere drop in the bucket to what we should expect of our society. And now, the one little baby step forward has regressed by decades. We, as a people, are being leashed back into a time in history when discrimination was not only tolerated, but encouraged.

As long as our own government, political and religious leaders, teachers and other authoritative figures allow, condone or make prejudicial legislation, this ignorant and fear based bigotry will never cease. Gay bullying has become a fatal concern in America. FATAL!!! IN AMERICA!! How can this be?? We toot our horns and tell the world how progressed we are, how enlightened we are, how much better we are. Yet we are plagued with an archaic and dangerous mindset.

It is no longer just the radical members of our communities we need to avoid, oppose or teach; now we have to do the same with our very own leaders. Our beautiful State Capital is now a boarding house for the encouraged harassment of those who need the most protection: the poor, minorities, students, the elderly and the homosexual people of our state have become Governor Walkers personal and political whipping posts.

These shameful acts are not in the name of our beloved constitution. This does not save money and it certainly doesn't shrink government. What is this, really? This is a transparent agenda built on ignorance, archaic religious beliefs, greed and power. This, my friends, is a dictatorship. So grab your papers, stay inside after dark and by all means, don't look anyone in the eye for then they may know you are not (insert scary music) one of the pod people.

Becky May 21, 2011 at 12:24 AM
Fiscally, the taxpayers wouldn't have to continue to pay for an ongoing litigation that is a carry over from the prior administration. Everyone forgets that it's our money paying for everything the government does. And we all know how long these things linger in the Dane County court system. As it stands right now.... There is nothing preventing domestic partners (same sex included) from visiting their partner in the hospital. There is nothing preventing them from designating a health care agent or a personal representative for end of life decisions. There is nothing preventing them from including their partner in their will or trust. And FMLA is available to them, as well. And they don't have to be on a special registry to have these protections. I think on a human level, you know that this decision doesn't mean our current administration condones bullying of any kind against anyone. There is one thing on which we do agree....Pod people scare me, too!
Heather Rayne Geyer May 21, 2011 at 01:57 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/19/health/19well.html http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/east_bay&id=6866909 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2377311/ http://www.growthhouse.org/gayissue.html http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/12/how-hospitals-treat-same-sex-couples/#more-4669 I have a headache and don't feel like finding the rest of the 100s of similar stories. I do not believe that without these laws it is as easy for a gay person to accomplish these things as a straight person. I am sure you would like to believe it and perhaps it is that way in your workplace...but not everywhere all of the time. And you know all too well that he is not doing this for financial reasons. He is extremely anti gay and it is well known of his strict religious beliefs. He would do what he could to take away any gay rights he can while in office regardless of the price tag. All of these social measures under the guise of fiscal reasonings - doesn't pass my BS meter. Sorry. One more thing...some things are worth fighting for in court or otherwise...this is one of those things. When all of these foot stomping' Republicans stop these expensive wars, tax subsidies/breaks for corporations...when they stop lining the pockets of their cronies hoping for a financial award after political life - then I will believe they really care about the money.
Becky May 21, 2011 at 02:36 AM
You are right! Some things are worth fighting for. Every Governor and every President that has ever held office brings his or her ideology with them. The real point is that those who vote know this when they vote (or they should) and this is the vote they cast and this in turn means this is what the majority wants for the state or the country. I just think fighting for this "registry" is probably not the best avenue for getting the desired result.
patchreader 123 May 21, 2011 at 02:45 AM
"...when they stop lining the pockets of their cronies hoping for a financial award after political life..." Unfortunately, such habits are not unique to Republicans. Democrats do this also. It's why this country is in dire need of campaign finance and lobby reform.
Heather Rayne Geyer May 21, 2011 at 03:33 AM
" this country is in dire need of campaign finance and lobby reform." I agree with this wholeheartedly and have written about it a lot in the past. One other thing Becky (cough, cough), Fitzgerald drafted the amendment to go before voters in an election - so important to him to make it an AMENDMENT to ban gay marriage - I wonder how much that cost...

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