We all knew it was coming, yet U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb’s ruling against Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage ban sent many of us into a flutter of activity that bordered on chaos — blissful chaos, but chaos nonetheless.
Quick! Leave work early! Get down to the courthouse! Bring your ID, some money for the license! Do you have the rings? Pick up the kids! Call mom and dad! Oh my God, it’s really happening! Hurry!
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen vigorously sought — and obtained — a stay of U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb’s decision finding the state’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional. A joyous week in Wisconsin that saw more than 550 same-sex couples marry came to an abrupt halt, and Van Hollen asked the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Crabb’s decision.
In Wisconsin, we have a long history of rolling up our sleeves, digging in and doing the hard work that has to be done to keep our values intact and our communities thriving.
Our state has been a pioneer in social reform for over a century. In 1911, Wisconsin was the first state to pass a worker’s compensation law. In 1918, we were the first state to ratify the 19th amendment, granting women the right to vote. In 1932, we were the first state to enact an unemployment compensation law. In 1982, we were the first state to put non-discrimination laws into place protecting sexual orientation.
Unfortunately, as we saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it’s disastrous when our leaders assign friends or financial supporters to key positions for which they’re wholly unqualified. Remember Michael D. Brown, who served as under secretary of emergency preparedness and response in George W. Bush’s administration? A Bush crony, he wasn’t even prepared to handle a traffic jam. His faltering response to Katrina amplified its devastation. Bush’s frat-boy shoutout to Brown as alligators swam the streets of New Orleans feasting on the bloated corpses of Katrina’s victims — “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job” — ensured Brown a prominent place in crony history.
That the billionaire Koch brothers are spending upwards of $1 million to launch an election-year advertising campaign in Wisconsin to sing the praises of Gov. Scott Walker’s policies comes as no surprise. What might not be readily apparent to casual observers is that taxpayers are subsidizing this electioneering.
LGBT Pride month is about far more than the word “pride” suggests. Just as the 1960s “black is beautiful” cultural movement sought to challenge white paradigms of beauty, LGBT Pride seeks to counter the myth that people whose sexual orientations and gender identities do not conform are damaged or evil. LGBT Pride is not about boasting or “flaunting” ourselves, as our critics on the religious right say. It’s about celebrating the very characteristics for which they’ve persecuted us for centuries. It’s about claiming our right to equality and to celebrating the disproportionate number of achievements people like us have contributed to science, industry, socio-political reform and the arts, despite our relatively small numbers and the discrimination we’ve endured.
“Hillary Clinton, whether you agree with her policies or not, whether you want to vote for her — she’s a quality person. She is also a great American, works as hard as anybody and is dedicated to this country. You can’t ask somebody to do more than she has done for her country. I thought his remarks just were outrageous.”
— Former New York Mayor MICHAEL BLOOMBERG responding on Face the Nation to Karl Rove’s suggestion that Hillary Clinton was brain-damaged as the result of a concussion suffered in 2012. Pundits on Fox News Sunday also blasted Rove for what Juan Williams described as a “personal attack.”