Just Say No, Wausau

Chickenhearted Editor’s Note:  Shawn sent this along and I debated a bit whether to post it.  I decided it is a current event that does affect us here in Wausau.  However, issues like this often start flame wars (which frankly is the purpose of such amendments in the political arena, a distraction to take attention away from REAL issues — but I digress…).  Feel free to comment, but if you just want to yell and scream, take it outside, please. 🙂

In November of this year, Wisconsin voters will have a lot of big decisions to make. Perhaps one of the most important of these is whether or not to vote for a proposed constitutional amendment that would essentially kill any possibility for gay marriage to be legalized in Wisconsin.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong. Isn’t that already the law in Wisconsin? I know plenty of people from the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community and not a one of them are allowed to marry their current partners here in Wisconsin. So first of all, what’s the point? Many people have said that the current law is ambiguous and is ripe for an “activist judge” (notice the quotation marks…) to step in and legalize gay marriage. Now, if you read the proposed amendment as written, it says:

“Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state.”

OK, now, some groups are arguing that this amendment may now create a situation where men and women living together in a committed relationship, but not married may be shut out of benefits if this passes. Conservative groups say that will never happen, but isn’t this the same type of ambiguity that the right (I’m generalizing, I know) is complaining about initially? You can’t have it both ways.

Forgetting for a moment that the bill as written is inherently flawed, let’s focus on whether or not we should utilize our state constitution to dictate the exclusion of the LGBT community. At times, the level of ignorance of the people I live among astounds me. It was with great horror that I read a letter to the editor in the Wausau Daily Herald that compared homosexuality with incest, polygamy, and pedophilia, and a vote against the proposed amendment would pave the way for legalizing these activities. Wow…just…wow.

Another argument you will hear is that it isn’t about gay marriage. In fact, the word gay or homosexual isn’t anywhere in the proposed amendment, so therefore, it isn’t towards gay people. It’s merely an end-around argument which leads you to no other place besides the exclusion of the LGBT community. I would implore any of the supporters of this amendment to argue this is NOT about the LGBT community. I could use a good laugh.

Next, let’s get this whole bible thing out of the way. Forget for a moment that the bible has been translated differently throughout history and we have no way of knowing the initial meaning and intent behind the writings. Looking at the cornerstone of the “God hates gays” argument we find Leviticus 20:13 which reads:

“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

What no one really talks about, though is Deuteronomy 21:18-21 prescribes that a stubborn or rebellious son should be put to death or Leviticus 12:6 discusses that a woman, during her time of menstruation needs to sacrifice a lamb or birds at temple in order to cleanse herself. In fact, Jesus Christ himself implored each of us to treat others as we want to be treated. Again, you can’t have it both ways.

I am a Catholic and I have worked hard to have a close relationship with God and I believe I have succeeded. And I truly believe in my heart that he would never prescribe the level of discrimination and exclusion we are discussing, especially in his name.

Finally, let’s tackle the argument that gay marriage puts traditional marriage in peril. It’s the end of the family, if you would believe the argument. Well over half of all marriages end in divorce, so it’s not like we heterosexuals are setting the record for commitment and longevity. Again, I implore anyone to point to data that shows gay marriage does anything to affect the current perceptions of marriage. If Tom and Dave are married, it doesn’t mean my wife and I don’t have a great marriage. I don’t get it.

We have a chance here, Wisconsin. On November 7, we can be the first to stand up and say, “No…not today…not here…not ever.” It all starts by educating yourselves regarding the law and its implications and getting involved in discussions that delve into the real reasons behind this amendment…exclusion and discrimination.

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6 responses to “Just Say No, Wausau

  1. Having moved from Wausau a couple of years ago, I often worry that my hometown is sliding in a more closed-minded place than I can bear.
    Thank you for posting this. You have assuaged my fears and I feel more comfortable about returning to visit.

    Although not as pressing as the death and dying in the Middle East, it is a REAL issue. And moreover it is a regional issue, which is precisely what this site is about.

    Our legislation should never be exclusionary nor should it be based on something so subjective as morality. And that is that.

  2. Thanks for the words, Kelley. Fortunately, I think more people feel this way than show themselves. I recently moved back to Wausau after growing up here and living in Milwaukee for the past 10 years. It’s definitely better than it was when I was younger, but I only hope like-minded people come out in droves on November 7. The whole country is watching.

  3. Christians have done a fine job alienating those whom they are supposed to love. Jesus was most clear about those he desired to love – the lost, the last and the least. He was also pretty forthright about loving your neighbor as yourself.

    That aside, He mentioned a war here on earth. A war we would all need to fight – where our weapons of warfare would not be physical, nor would our enemy, but they would be spiritual.

    Unfortunately, the church has targeted the wrong enemies; homosexuals, liberals, Muslims, Harry Potter and the DiVinci Code. They are not the enemy.

    Who will target the enemy of poverty, feeding the hungry and social justice? Where are those that seek peace and pursue it? When will we stand and protect the very Earth we were given and told to take care of (Gen. 2:15)?

    I have seen the enemy – and the enemy is me.

  4. Dearest Editor: Thank you for allowing the post.

    It gives me hope to read such thoughtful, eloquent comments. I hope Wisconsin does the right thing.

  5. So far so good 🙂 I was not concerned about the Wauvillians (as Marcus suggested in the past…). I was concerned what would happen when the post got “Googled” and internet “democracy” took over.

  6. Wisconsin has a long and proud progressive political history–think Fighting Bob LaFollette–but in recent years has succumbed to a Nixonian laissez faire political attitude toward local and national politics. Argue, if you must, that we have great grassroots party involvement–although less than 22% of Wisconsonites have college degrees–and a fairly active contingency of 20 somethings trying to drum up support for causes, but we are a state dominated by lower-middle class voters who respond much differently than the enlightened writers on this blog. We have Herb Kohl. We have Dave Obey. We have Russ Feingold. And then we have Jim Sensenbrenner and Mark Green.

    Issues like the “gay marriage” proposal will pass. This will hurt business and hurt our state’s reputation. When it does, the hue and cry will abate after a few weeks. The very real paucity between our hearts and our heads defies our motto of “Forward” and seems to make us all foresworn to become the next Kansas.

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