It is day 100! Woah! 100 days on the road. What a trip so far. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to make the project happen!
Today I conducted an interview with Katie Belanger, the executive director of Fair Wisconsin. She told me about the legal protections afforded to LGBT people in the state. Wisconsin was the first state to pass a gay civil rights law, protecting gays and lesbians from workplace discrimination, back in 1982!
Wisconsin voters passed an anti-gay constitutional amendment in 2006. This amendment bans civil unions as well as gay marriage. It is being challenged in court right now. State law does not permit two issues to be lumped into one amendment.
Pro-LGBT lawyers are arguing that marriage and civil unions are two separate issues and, while the voters may have voted against same-sex marriage, they may very well have thrown out an amendment banning civil unions. This is likely, as polls indicate folks are more in favor of civil unions than marriage for gay couples.
The Wisconsin legislature recently passed a domestic partnership law, giving same-sex couples a few relationship recognition rights. This new law is being challenged by the anti-gay organizations. They claim that the amendment passed in 2006 banning marriage and anything close to it, does not allow for domestic partnerships. Fair Wisconsin argues that domestic partnerships are not anything close to marriage.
When the anti-gay organizations were pushing for the anti-gay marriage amendment, they said it was to “protect marriage”. All the focus was on marriage. Why them, are they using the law to attack domestic partnerships? This shows, again, that it is NOT about the word “marriage” as they claim all across the country. These folks do not want gays and lesbians to have any relationship recognition, whether it be called marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, or any other name. They are not protecting marriage, but instead, blatantly discrimination against gays and lesbians.
After the interview I ate cheese curds. I like Wisconsin. I love Madison.
I’m trying to post a video clip of the interview, but my computer is not feeling it. You can help out the Driving Equality project by donating to the New Computer Fund. I need to raise $1700 more to purchase the computer. This computer will be used to edit the final documentary.