So the weddings have been taking place since the news that the ban was struck down here in WI, and there have been beautiful photos – like the one of the Madison cops bringing cakes to couples getting married on the courthouse steps – and some very interesting articles.
But it was this one sentence from this article that really got to me, because that’s how it feels even for us. Despite having been legally married in the state of New York in 2001 – because we were legally gendered heterosexual at the time – we have felt such a deep envy when NY & so many other states started recognizing and performing same sex unions.
Really, it’s a huge sigh of relief, even for us, who have had recognition from the Federal government for forever but who feel insecure no matter what we’re doing in-state. It is impossible not to feel like a second class citizen when you don’t know if an emergency room attendant is going to recognize your relationship or not.
At issue is whether domestic partnerships create a legal status that is “substantially similar” to marriage and therefore violate the state’s 2006 constitutional ban on gay marriage.
Gov. Jim Doyle signed the state’s domestic partnership registry into law as part of the 2009-2011 biennial budget. Domestic partnerships grant same-sex couples limited benefits, including visitation rights in hospitals and the right to inherit each other’s assets.
Julaine Appling, the executive director of Wisconsin Family Action, a socially conservative organization that opposes homosexuality, unsuccessfully petitioned the Supreme Court to take jurisdiction in an original action in 2009. The domestic partner registry has since been ruled constitutional by Dane County Judge Daniel Moeser, with that decision upheld by a state appeals court.
The appeals court ruled that, when considering eligibility requirements, formation requirements, rights, obligations, and termination requirements, “the ‘legal status’ of a domestic partnership is not ‘substantially similar’ to the ‘legal status’ of marriage.”
The idea is this: domestic partner benefits offer a few basic rights to same sex couples which come nowhere near what marriage bestows, but these wingnuts have taken the case to court in order to prove that even something as simple as hospital visitation “mimics” marriage which is expressly forbidden by the state’s super-DOMA.
Of course the problem is that Wisconsin has a super DOMA in the first place, and it can’t be challenged, even, until 2015.
Honestly, the whole fracas is embarrassing, especially now that it’s obvious which way the wind is blowing, but these conservative wingnuts are digging their heels in deeper now that it’s apparent they are losing the war (even if/when they win the battles).
So you can see why some people are upset and protesting the rifles.
The problem is that there’s a weird intersection of city and state laws here. The municipal code bars the chicken. The state law allows the rifles. What you wind up with is a wholly stupid situation, where people will be boycotting the farmer’s market because they don’t want rifles there, you know, near their children and parents and friends, which means the city, or the county, or someone, will have to do something instead of letting a really cool local institution fail.
Here’s a guy who got arrested today, & yes, he is a firefighter.
The Solidarity Singalong started in March 2011 with the rallies that were staged protests against Walker’s union busting. It’s continued every day since them – at noon, usually with a couple of copies of lyrics for whomever wanted to sing along. Their supposed to get a permit as a group but they are not a group so much as they are people who show up to sing; who comes is pretty irregular, and no one is “in charge”. That is, there is no organization, no group in the legal sense, and so no one who can report how many people will show up on a day to day basis.
But of course that’s not the point. The point is that they’re singing in the rotunda of the capitol of Wisconsin because they should be allowed to.
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.
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.
Yet Wisconsinites are nowout 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.
The Fox Cities Book Festival started in earnest yesterday and I saw one author right out of the gate: James Loewen, otherwise famous for Lies My Teacher Told Me, but who spoke yesterday about sundown towns. And he was amazing. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak, please do.
I will also be doing a workshop at Fair Wisconsin’s Leadership Conference as well, which is a very cool event – a great place to learn about a vast array of issues facing LGBTQ people. There are scholarships available for students – and it’s only $35 for students.
The Wisconsin State Supreme Court today refused the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals’ request to certify the domestic partnership case. I’m working on getting more info, but in the meantime, the short motion is available online .
I’m heart-broken to hear this news. Milwaukee, for the record, is a very cool little city, & the county is progressive. My heart is with the county’s residents, many of whom are no doubt horrified by this expression of hate in their community, but especially with the loved ones of those murdered, including the police officer’s family, and all of the people who will live in more fear because of this shooting.
And honestly? White people need fucking mental help in this country. Don’t tell me it’s not all white people. Of course it isn’t. But the consistency of race of the people who commit these horrible acts of slaughter – of innocents – is becoming pretty apparent. (My favorite website for good anti-racist ideas is Abagond. Go check it out.)
Oak Creek is a city near Milwaukee, by the way, & part of the same county (Milwaukee County), but is considered part of the the larger metropolitan Milwaukee area.
Today, for my 43rd birthday, and on Mother’s Day to boot, I’ll be speaking at Appleton’s first Slutwalk. Here’s a preview of what I’m planning on saying:
Thank you so much, VDAY, for having the ovarios to put on this event here in Appleton.
For those of you who don’t know, Slutwalk began only last year in April, in Toronto, when a police officer admitted that he was told he wasn’t supposed to say that women shouldn’t dress like sluts so as not to be victimized. And by that, he meant they should dress in ways that hid their bodies in ways our misogynist, sex-obsessed culture would find acceptable. Aside from the impossibility of being able to decide what “dressing like a slut” means in any culture, he put together the idea that somehow women’s bodies are at fault for the violence and slut shaming perpetrated against them.
They are not.
Women’s bodies are beautiful and should be seen, and in a culture that had its act together – on both violence and sexuality – police officers wouldn’t say such stupid things. Mind you: he wasn’t trying to be hateful. His words, no doubt, came out of something like compassion for the women who he had seen victimized while doing his job. He wanted – like so many of us do – to keep women safe from sexual assault, from trauma, from fear.
But what many men don’t know is that it’s not what kind of clothing a woman’s body wears that has anything to do with it. It’s what a woman’s body IS that causes us all these troubles: bodies full of desire, desiring, desired; bodies of curves and straight lines and freckles and hair. Bodies of skin and fat and muscle and bone; bodies of organs, of hearts and brains and cervixes.
What I love is that every day of my life I can wake up & say that I was born with the one body part whose only use is pleasure. But if you think about it, which parts of us aren’t? Brains, hair, hands, hearts, breasts, legs, feet and elbows – the skin itself is about pleasure. Freud had this theory that we were all polymorphously perverse – meaning that when we’re born, we’re so awash in the pleasure of having a body that every touch, ever breeze, brings us rolling waves of pleasure and that the process of getting older is learning to move some of that sensitivity to a few precious locations – mostly so, as he figured it, we were going to get anything done at all. And so our nerves, so adept at finding pleasure, became located in our nipples and tongues, our fingers and toes, the backs of knees and the backs of our necks, our lips – both sets of lips - and of course in our genitals too. And somehow we managed to stop touching our selves long enough to write books and build buildings.
But women are a kind of warm, breathing repository of all of that pleasure, and it’s hard not to see, especially not in spring. Our sexual selves come out of hiding in the spring, and so our clothes come off – even here in Wisconsin, where “spring” and “warm” are not always the same thing – because we feel the joy of having bodies, of desiring and being desired. More→
Fair Wisconsin PAC has announced their 2012 Recall Primary Election Endorsements. They are committed to advancing and achieving equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Wisconsinites through strategic electoral activity, by working to elect pro-fairness individuals in local, state and federal races in Wisconsin.
YOU DO NOT NEED A VOTER ID TO VOTE ON TUESDAY. Due to recent court injunctions on the voter photo ID requirement, citizens will not be required to show a photo ID in order to vote in the May 8 election. Please note that this situation is subject to change. For more information on what you will need in order to vote on Tuesday, please visit the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin website for more information.
“For 77 years, the dedicated staff at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin have worked to ensure that women and families will always be able to access affordable, high-quality health care in a safe and caring environment in which their privacy and dignity is respected.
“We care for 80,000 patients statewide who turn to us for medical exams, lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control and STD testing and treatment. Over 97 percent of the health care services we provide are essential, preventive care such as this. At three of our 27 health centers, we provide abortion care, a critical component of comprehensive women’s health care.
“Last night around 7:40 p.m. the Grand Chute Fire Department was called to our Appleton North Health Center. Police are telling us that a small, homemade explosive device was placed on an outside windowsill causing a small fire that burned out prior to the fire department arriving. There was minimal damage to one of the exam rooms. No staff or patients were injured or present. The health center will reopen tomorrow. Our primary concern today—as always— is our patients, staff and volunteers.
“Women deserve safe and compassionate care, and we are proud to provide it. Rest assured, our doors will remain open for the thousands of women who rely on Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin each year for high quality health care.
“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the law enforcement agencies working with us to ensure Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin continues to be a safe and trusted health care provider for Wisconsin women and families.”
How can a person even respond to this kind of violence that would target poor and working class women who are trying to get their health needs met in a difficult economy? How do you explain to people who would bomb a health clinic that PP clinics don’t offer abortion services in the first place? How do you respond to a group that would plan bombs and kill innocent people – theoretically, even the fetuses they say they’re protecting – and who call themselves “pro life”?
How do you respond at all?
I am at the point now where anyone who apologizes for the inflaming and incendiary rhetoric aimed at Roe v. Wade & at a woman’s right to choose is not my friend, my family, or even someone I can talk to. I understand objections to abortion; I was raised Catholic after all, & am the youngest of 6. But this language around choice, the “army of God” mentality that’s been fed to people is so hurtful, so entirely wrong and beside the point.
When will those of you who vote Republican start telling your leadership that you will not vote for them until they stop with this rhetoric and these policies that target poor women especially?
This Planned Parenthood is so easily a place I might speak at or have a student intern at. The women who go there and work there could be friends.
I don’t understand violence as a response to what is sold as a moral objection. It just doesn’t make sense.