It's about Francie and Mary

Last night after the kickoff in La Crosse, we went out for dinner with a few of our longtime supporters. I was lucky to sit across the table from Francie Ball, an Action Wisconsin Board member, and her partner Mary O’Sullivan, who have been together for 23 years.

Because I live so close to campus in Madison, most of the people I interact with on a daily basis are in their twenties or slightly younger. As a result, until last night I had never spent a significant amount of time with a gay couple who had been together for more than a few years.

Of course I know the real stories – Mark who has been with David for 19 years but couldn’t visit him in the hospital when he was sick because they have no legal recognition. Or Amy and Teresa, who have been together for 14 years and have two young children. Amy worries, since she does not have legal recognition as a parent of her own children, that if anything happens to Teresa their kids might end up in foster care.

The stories are heartbreaking and infuriating. But after spending the evening talking and eating with Francie and Mary and seeing first hand how much they care about each other and how well they take care of each other and how all they want is for their committed partnership to be recognized by the state the same as it is for heterosexual couples, it’s actually painful to think that they’re denied this basic human right.

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