What Are We Voting On?

I read something quite disturbing today.

Over at OnMilwaukee.com, the Sunday Sound-off question asks whether or not gay couples deserve the same benefits as straight couples. That's not the problem.

The problem is that the question is set up in this way:

On Nov. 7, Wisconsin voters will decide whether or not same-sex marriages are legal.

Umm...that is not what we're voting on.

On November 7th, Wisconsin voters are deciding whether or not to amend our State Constitution to permanently shut out the possibility of ever offering civil unions or marriage to gay and lesbian couples. Marriage for gay and lesbian couples is illegal today in Wisconsin and it will be illegal on November 8th, regardless of the outcome of the vote.

When I emailed the editor to ask her to accurately refer to what we're voting on, she assured me that my response would be published, and that my voice would be heard. Frankly, I don't think that's a good enough way to respond to such a misleading, mistake.

Agree? Read the question here, see how others are responding, and email your own statement or post a comment on what it is we're really voting on-- a constitutional ban on civil unions and marriage.


3/9 This morning I got an email from Molly, the editor of the Sound-off section, kindly alerting me that she tweaked the question to accurately describe what it is we're voting on. I know many of you wrote to her to help make that happen, so thank you for that. It'd be great if between now and the election we all keep our eyes on the media and alert them if they make similar mistakes. Just please remember that name-calling and mean-spirited letters are not the way to do that. Most of the time these are honest mistakes-- it's a confusing ballot initiative for folks on both sides of the fence. And if anyone's on the fence, we certainly don't want to push them to the other side by calling them names.



At 9:37 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

Hopefully same-sex marriages will always be against the law but we shouldn't need to change our state constitutions nor the national constitution to keep it that way. Common sense tells us that marriage is between a man and a woman. Unfortunately common sense doesn't always win out so if amending the Constitution is the only way...good luck.

At 9:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

American Crusader isn't sounding very American. In fact, he's sounding a little more Taliban.

At 11:09 PM, Anonymous Eleanor T. said...

What's "common sense" to one person is completely ridiculous to another. If we close out debate because we think questions aren't worth asking then we don't have much of a democracy. Common sense tells me that marriage, historically, was designed to protect property and bloodlines. But I know plenty of committed gay couples who own property together and raise children together. Women were once the legal property of their husbands. Opponents of the ban will undoubtedly dismiss these historical precedents... but have we really evolved? I think we have and that our laws should be in step with social realities. Common sense!

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

"Hopefully same-sex marriages will always be against the law but we shouldn't need to change our state constitutions nor the national constitution to keep it that way."

It all depends on what side of the fence you sit on.

The reason that this referendum is going up for a vote is because some want to make sure that its against the law because they are afraid that judges will intrepret it differently. Again, depends on what side of the fence you are on. Apparently, you are not gay or a lesbian so you can't relate, which in my opinion, your opinion is invalid and in my eyes ignorant. If you are not gay or lesbian, you have no idea of the feelings, struggles, etc that each of us has. This is a free country, a melting pot of the entire world, why can't we have our share? Seems like the rest of the world is willing to share that including the United Kingdom, why can't the United States aka the melting pot?

The whole reason this came up is because some government officials don't want the State to pay for domestic partner benefits. This is their way to stop it.

At 4:32 PM, Blogger StarStar said...

This is what I sent to Sound Off:

First, I want to point out that this question is misleading and stated entirely incorrectly. Same sex marriages are already "illegal" as there is already a law on the books stating that marriage is considered to be solely between a man and a woman. This amendment takes it one step further by making it unconstitutional for anything even resembling a marriage to be made legal between same-sex couples which includes civil unions or even lesser forms of legal partnerships. This specific phrasing has far-reaching consequences and I will be voting a resounding NO and encouraging all who I discuss this with to do the same. One thing you can do for intelligent and responsible journalism would be to, at the very least, re-phrase the question so it covers what this amendment is really about.


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