The Story in Pictures - La Crosse

It felt like we drove for hours yesterday. We left Wausau first thing in the morning for a meeting in Marshfield. Then we had another meeting in Stevens Point. And then it was on to La Crosse. The drive was beautiful, and it was kind of a relief to lose cell phone coverage for at least a solid hour. It gets a little hectic when two or three of us are yammering away on our phones in a small car.

Our La Crosse Kick Off started at 5:30 at the La Crosse Public Library. It's probably my 12th visit to La Crosse for Fair Wisconsin or Action Wisconsin. I've been up here for community meetings, Pride Along the Mississippi, a town hall we hosted with 200 people, and more recently some of our Action Networks meetings. I feel very personally connected to lots of the people here. It's the kind of thing where you want to hug people when you see them again instead of just shaking hands. The 7 Rivers LGBT Resource Center is the area community center and has some terrific board members. They've been a critical partner in our efforts here. We are also lucky to have area resident Francie Ball on our board of directors.

Last night's speakers were Pastor John Carrier, Rachel Gundersen, and Connie Scharlau. Here's some background on them:
Pastor John Carrier serves with the Lutheran Campus Ministry at Winona State University. As a Christian, he opposes the civil unions and marriage ban because it violates God’s commandment to “love thy neighbor.” Pastor Carrier would like us to move instead toward enacting civil unions for gay families.

Rachel Gundersen is a retired school psychologist with the La Crosse School District. She has been involved in many community groups in La Crosse, including the League of Women Voters. She is married to Cameron Gundersen, a retired pediatrician with Gundersen Lutheran, and they have five sons. Rachel opposes the ban because she believes it will negatively impact many of our friends, neighbors, and coworkers in La Crosse.

Connie Scharlau and her husband are retired and live on a farm in Arcadia. Connie is active in her ELCA church and helped pass a resolution against the civil unions and marriage ban in the La Crosse Area ELCA Synod. She has been very active in local efforts to educate voters about the harms of the civil unions and marriage ban.



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