Another Positive Voice

Susan Allen: A Voice for NoSusan Allen is a high school language teacher in Green Bay, and is a proud mother of three. She is an active ally and advocate for LGBT youth, working with the Gay-Straight Alliances in the Fox Valley and the Positive Voice Education Committee in Green Bay.

She also strongly advocates against the proposed ban and is featured for doing so in our "Voices for No." In the interview she explains the many reasons she's voting No in November:

We need to protect the state constitution from being used as a tool to promote any type of religious agenda. The state constitution has always been a document used to promote and protect individual freedoms, not to isolate and discriminate against a certain portion of our population based on the religious tenants of any particular faith community. State law should never be confused with church doctrine...

... on a human rather than a legal or an ethical level, passage of this amendment would hurt every single one of the gay and lesbian students, parents, families and friends whom I so dearly love.

Read the full interview here.



At 5:57 PM, Anonymous Keith said...

Another comment from your cranky conservative... ;-)

I encourage folks to read the news releases that come from our opponents. They are working very hard to frame this battle as "religious people" against "the liberals who would re-define marriage." Wrong on both counts, since this is neither a battle over RELIGION, nor a battle over MARRIAGE. But the folks who will be going to the polls in November think it's all about religion and marriage, and they largely disagree with us on exactly those grounds.

There is a clear contradiction in Susan Allen's first two sentences! (1) Don't use the constitution to promote religious values. (2) But do use it to promote freedoms and protections. Are not promoting freedom and protecting people a religious agenda? Is not our cause, protecting G&L families, a profoundly religious one? Many of us, and most of our audience, are profoundly religious.

Allen sounds like a bigot, when she paints "religious" people as the ones in favor of this amendment. Statements like hers can sometimes play right into the hands of the ones who want to see this amendment passed. They can point to us and say, "See, they are just not Christian." Worse yet, "They are attacking us religious people." Their flyers are filled with panic about how THEY are the ones who are being persecuted!

I fear that statements of that sort just steer the very debate in favor of the good people of Wisconsin who want to vote "YES."

At 9:37 AM, Anonymous Susan said...

The constitution of the state of Wisconsin establishes the fundamental principles according to which the citizens of Wisconsin are governed. The constitution guarantees certain freedoms, including freedom of worship. The constitution also protects certain rights, among them "the right of every person to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of conscience..."

It should come as no surprise that most, well nigh all faith communities, also affirm these legal rights and freedoms given to us by our constitution. Essentially, this gives everyone (including those practicing Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, etc.) the freedom TO practice their religion, but also, the freedom FROM any ONE of the religions causing laws to be made that would apply to ALL people, to people of all the different religions.

If the proponents of this amendment are not primarily religiously motivated, I don't know what their other motivations might be. I have not yet heard one person argue on behalf of the amendment without making at least general reference to their religious values or dictates of faith (and no one is admitting to what their political motivations are either). This is not to say that there are not at least as many, and ultimately, hopefully more people, who vehemently oppose this amendment, also based on their particular religious values or dictates of faith. The point is, for very many people in this state, this proposed constitutional amendment has EVERYTHING to do with religion, whether they be against the amendment or in support of it. We are a pluralistic society, and that is exactly why it is imperative that the constitution remain unbiased.

This is precisely what I meant when I stated, "We need to protect the state constitution from being used as a tool to promote any type of religious agenda." The constitution should not be used to favor the beliefs of any one of the hundreds of types of religions or faith communities over any other. Yours is not better than mine. Christian is not better than Hindu. Buddhist is not better than Islamic. Ours is not better than theirs, etc. In the eyes of the law, all should be respected equally. Amending the constitution to prohibit gay marriage might be supported by 25 different religions, but might be opposed by 75 others. It is not the job of the constitution to make laws based on religious tenants. There is no contradiction here.

I think we can all agree that this is a highly emotional issue for everyone involved. Reducing ourselves to name calling does nothing to further this fight for equal rights that we all feel so passionately about. As the word bigot is the epitome of intolerance, I can assure you that in my case, it doesn't apply.

Susan Allen

At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Keith said...

Thanks, Susan, for the cogent and excellent reply to my wee rant. I guess that my biggest frustration is that I fear we have (at least in the mind of the public) conceded the religion question to the YES folks. Your reply convinces me that you have no such intention!

I am so very disappointed with the fact that our churches and other religious organizations, especially the conservative ones, have not been more vocal on the NO side of the cause. Although the "liberal" churches have spoken up, it has largely been with the same friendly and inclusive language they are used to using, language that largely fails to register for the average Wisconsinite sitting on the fence.

I am waiting for our own Martin Luther King to show up. I long for a Catholic bishop to quote yesterday's "Deus Caritas Est" Vatican encyclical as support for our cause. I long for an evangelical mega-church pastor to appear in the meanstream media, challenging the amendment on the grounds that it is EVIL to destroy families. I want to hear less from conservative Christians about "threats to marriage" and more about threats to widows and orphans.

Thanks again, Susan, for your good thoughts. And for continuing to get the word out!

-- Keith.


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