Getting Ready for Tomorrow, and the Days After That

To say things are busy here would be an understatement. We've been working hard all weekend to prepare for tomorrow's Assembly vote on the civil unions and marriage ban, and are gearing up to work even harder in the months leading to the November election.

But we did take a break last night after a staff meeting to enjoy this cake left over by a wildly successful house party that helped raise the money we need to defeat the ban.

The media is starting to cover tomorrow's vote, and this weekend The Capital Times wrote an editorial against the ban, and published this article about the far-reaching consequences of the ban. It's a terrific piece, focusing on how one family is worried about losing their health insurance benefits, and how Madison and Dane County officials fear losing economic growth if the ban passes.
The proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage has two distinct sections.
  • The first clarifies that marriage in Wisconsin is valid only between one woman and one man. State law currently defines marriage between a "husband" and a "wife," but does not spell out their gender.
  • The second sentence reads: "A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state."

It's the second part of the amendment that opponents of the proposed amendment say provides the legal basis for outlawing civil unions and domestic partnership benefits.

The amendment's potential effect is more clear-cut for public employers - such as units of government - than for private ones.

Madison and Dane County officials say they fear the worst.

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk wrote state senators last year that the ban "threatens the domestic partner benefits which have been bargained by our unions and Dane County for many years."

Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz also condemned the measure as an attempt to "override the will of communities, like Madison, where local government, under a legitimate exercise of local control authority, has decided to provide domestic partnership benefits to qualifying employees regardless of gender."

He also said it was anti-growth and anti-economic development.

"With an unemployment rate now well below 3 percent, my community competes for qualified workers with communities all over the country," Cieslewicz said, and "this legislation sends exactly the wrong message to these needed workers and entrepreneurs.
Read the full article here.

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