Amendment Passes, But There's Reason to Celebrate

The Senate voted in favor of the amendment along party lines. But in a major victory for us, two senators -- Sens. Hansen and Breske-- had time to think about how far this amendment goes and switched their vote.

Yes, it is a disappointing loss, but today's vote leaves me incredibly optimistic.

It proves that we can change the hearts and minds of Wisconsin senators, and with a year in front of us, we have time to share our stories and to change the hearts and minds of Wisconsin voters.

Please take the time to thank Sens. Hansen and Breske, and all of the Democrats-- especially if they are your representatives.

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14 Comments:

At 2:15 PM, Anonymous Christie Millard said...

How did this fare with the passing of this amendment? Right now that's my biggest concern-that not enough people will be out to vote during a Senatorial election year. Maybe that could work in our favor if we get enough GLBT and Friends of GLBT out to vote!

 
At 2:25 PM, Blogger Obstructing Injustice said...

I had previously sent Senator Stepp a letter asking for her to change her vote. I knew her from when I worked in Racine. My letter was based on the harms the amendment would cause to Wisconsin business development, to the misuse of the constitutional process and to the significant legal harms the amendment would cause.

As you know, she chose to vote along party lines, despite her previously announcing a decision not to run agains.

I sent her the following letter today:

Senator Stepp,
I was very disappointed to learn of your vote supporting discrimination against gay and lesbians in Wisconsin. I had hoped you would consider the reasoned arguments presented to you by me and by a large number of other lawyers and legal scholars. I also hoped that you would consider the real hurt toward Wisconsin families that this amendment advances.

I mentioned in my letter to you that I vote based on candidates and that I have never joined a political party. Based on the Republican vote today; that has I changed. I have just joined the Democratic Party.

I'm sorry to know that you know stand on the wrong side of our State's history.

I now rest my hope that the Wisconsin citizens see through this political tactic and do not trample on the Wisconsin Constitution in the shameful manner that you and your Republican colleagues did today.

Regards,
Erik

Erik R. Guenther
5391 Mariners Cove, Unit 208
Madison, WI 53704
608.658.5168 (tel)
eguenther@justice.com (email)

I then joined the Democratic Party. While Action is a non-partisan group, I encourage individuals to join the Party as well. They took a united stand against hatred today and they proved worthy of support.

For those that are interested, here is a link to join: http://www.wisdems.org/ht/d/Join/member/Y

 
At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Jay said...

Can someone at AW post the roll call vote results for each Senator? I don't want to assume someone voted for or against the resolution today.

Thanks!

 
At 3:28 PM, Blogger Denise said...

Thank you to the folks at AW for starting this blog.

I am finding it an invaluable way to keep abreast of what is happening with the amendment. I have shared the blog address with friends and family across the state.

 
At 3:29 PM, Blogger robbodobbo said...

I would also like to see the vote results, was it completely party line?

 
At 3:53 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Yuh, pardon the pun, but it was straight down the party line. Here's the official roll call, from the state web site:

AYES - 19
BROWN R
COWLES R
DARLING R
ELLIS R
FITZGERALD R
GROTHMAN R
HARSDORF R
KANAVAS R
KAPANKE R
KEDZIE R
LASEE R
LAZICH R
LEIBHAM R
OLSEN R
REYNOLDS R
ROESSLER R
SCHULTZ R
STEPP R
ZIEN R


NAYS - 14
BRESKE D
CARPENTER D
COGGS D
DECKER D
ERPENBACH D
HANSEN D
JAUCH D
LASSA D
MILLER D
PLALE D
RISSER D
ROBSON D
TAYLOR D
WIRCH D

Okay, it's cool that Breske and Hansen changed their votes, but I gotta wonder, what on Earth were they initially thinking, elected as Democrats to the Senate, and planning to vote Yes on this steaming pile of hate?

 
At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i believe there is some real hope here today..i also agree we must continue to win over the hearts and minds of wisconsin voters and educate as many people and media outlets as we can on this clear civil rights issue.

we have so much going for our side and do not forget that our state has an early bipartisan gay rights history..

however, as clearly depicted today in senate debate, we are contending with a strong, fearful, right wing unlike anything seen since the joseph mccarthy era..we must continue to educate and get as many lgbt people and allies to participate with action wisconsin in this civil rights struggle...

onward to the people...

 
At 4:22 PM, Anonymous Dan said...

There have been two Assembly Democrats cosponsoring anti-equal-marriage rights bills in the past (Wayne Wood of Janesville and John Ryba of Green Bay). Both have since retired. And there are Democrats in the Assembly who voted for this amendment last time. (And Republicans in the Assembly who voted against the amendment.)

One can't count on someone's support based on party affiliation. Likewise, one shouldn't assume that support won't be there on the same basis.

I do wish the Senate Republicans would show some of that independence they theoretically have.

Thanks to the AW staff for keeping us up to date!! I know it's rough to sit through these meetings, esp. when it's both work and personal.

 
At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a lawyer fighting this amendment, I have noticed that many people don't see that the Constitution isn't just another law. They don't get that the point of any constitution is to protect the people from a tyrannical government, not to further tyranny (even the tyranny of the majority). This amendment violates existing constitutional principals as well, such as the right to petition the government for redress. The amendment would prohibit a single class of people from petitioning future legislatures for legal recognition of relationships, and therefore violates our right to equal protection. The US Supreme Court in 1996 (Romer v. Evans) explained this well, and the federal trial court in Nebraska recently recognized this applied to the constitutional amendment there and struck it down. This is very unamerican, and should not be accepted by any political party!!!

 
At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Jay said...

Here are the Senators that are up for re-election in 2006 with their district numbers and party affiliations:

Supported the resolution:
District 1 - LASEE R
5 - REYNOLDS R
7 - LEIBHAM R
11 - KEDZIE R
13 - FITZGERALD R (sponsor of SJR-53)
17 - SCHULTZ R
19 - ELLIS R
21 -STEPP R
23 - ZIEN R
31 - BROWN R
33 - KANAVAS R

Opposed the resolution:
3 - CARPENTER D
9 - PLALE D
15 - ROBSON D
25 - JAUCH D
27 - ERPENBACH D
29 - DECKER D

I was very impressed with the remarks from Democrats Carpenter and Erpenbach during the debate on SJR-53. Both were passionately fighting to strike this discrimination down.

When we are working next year to convince voters on this issue, let's also remember the politicians who supported us.

FYI- The Family Research Institute has their press release posted:
http://www.fri-wi.org/Media/press_releases/PR_120705.pdf

 
At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Cory M said...

Even though they are not my Senators, I did phone Mr Hansen and Mr Breske today to tell them "thank you" for their "no" vote against this resolution.

I personally would not likely take advantage of such rights and benefits if they existed, but I know it's no excuse to do nothing for my fellow gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender citizens of this great state. I plan to up my involvement in this issue and tell everyone I can about how much it will effect everyone.

As a side note I work at a hotel here in Madison, and one of the Senators that introduced this bill stays here... I'm half tempted to tell him next time we don't allow homophobic senators to stay here... of course my job would be at risk but my pride is worth more than a paycheck :)

 
At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Fred V said...

I am a 35-year-old man, and I am APPALLED that legislators and people who claim to be "of faith" feel that, when it comes to knowing how to conduct a relationship, I and my boyfriend are no better than children who still have to be coaxed on tying shoelaces and using the bathroom properly!

 
At 8:51 AM, Blogger Samurai Sam said...

I agree with one of the anonymous comments: the state constitution is not designed to settle specific legislative issues. It's designed to outline the responsiblities and functions of the government. From a purely political science perspective, this amendment is complete garbage.

I don't have much hope in stopping this amendment in the Assembly; the Republicans are just too monolithic in their voter ideology. Plus, they want this on the ballot for November to boost Green or Walker's chances against Doyle. I really think we can be the first state to stop this kind of amendment from passing. A majority of people may not like gay marriage but a majority does like civil unions and, with this amendment banning both, I think we've got a good chance of defeating it.

Just my 2% of a dollar. Thanks for following this issue.

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger Bryan L. Bain said...

I'm disappointed in the recent regressive actions by this legislature (and its 'leadership')...against education, public safety, medical research, health care...and now this! Maybe it's time to change our state motto to BACKWARDS because these actions are anything but FORWARD!

Bryan L. Bain
Oshkosh, WI

 

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