Okay, maybe not queer Wisconsin, but definitely LGBTQ Wisconsin, at least. There are two interesting articles out about the state of gay rights and marriage equality and non-discrimination in this state.
One is mostly about Fair Wisconsin: its history, current goals, and what kinds of policy and legislation they’ve been addressing.
The details of how Action Wisconsin, the predecessor to Fair Wisconsin, got started are sketchy, though there seems to be consensus it coincided with the election of Tammy Baldwin to the state Assembly in 1992.
The story is that the newly elected Baldwin, then the first out lesbian elected to the Assembly, was in great demand as a speaker around the state. Belanger says Baldwin would go to these speaking engagements and collect names and contact information in a spiral notebook.
“The legend is that those lists started Action Wisconsin,” says Belanger. John Kraus, spokesman for Baldwin, now a U.S. senator, confirms the story.
The second is about the change of attitude about marriage equality and gay rights in the state:
Yet Wisconsinites are now out of sync with the rest of the country.
The latest poll from Marquette University shows that 42% of Wisconsinites support full marriage equality, while 26% support civil unions and 28% oppose any legal recognition of these partnerships.
That’s a positive change from 2006, when 59.4% of voters approved a constitutional ban on marriage equality and civil unions.
Although it’s the law of the land, the constitutional ban is at odds with Wisconsin’s long tradition of tolerance, said Katie Belanger, executive director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights group Fair Wisconsin. She noted that in 1982 Wisconsin was the first state to make sexual-orientation discrimination illegal and voters clearly supported the election of Democrat Tammy Baldwin, a lesbian, to the U.S. Senate in 2012.
“We may disagree on all of the issues of importance to the full LGBT community, but a Wisconsin value is that we treat people fairly and with respect,” Belanger said.
And people wonder why we moved here! There’s so much to do! You can donate to Fair Wisconsin to help us keep moving things forward.