Salon.com on Wisconsin

An article in today's Salon.com looks at Wisconsin's "dueling wedge issues"-- stem-cell research and the civil unions and marriage ban.

The article notes that our long list of success and momentum suggests to pollsters that "the amendment may end up bucking a trend, motivating liberals to the polls as much as or more than the evangelicals at whom this issue was aimed."

The intensity of feeling against the ban has engendered an effective opposition movement. Amendment opponents have built the largest coalition seen to date on the issue, bringing in advocacy organizations from all over the political map as well as some of the state's most influential politicians.

The state Democratic Party officially opposes the amendment, the first state party in the country to do so. Wisconsin's two senators, Democrats Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold, have come out against the ban, and Feingold has declared his support for the outright legalization of same-sex marriage. The state AFL-CIO, the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Medical Association and two sections of the Wisconsin Bar Association have all declared their opposition. According to Fair Wisconsin, the opponents' lead activist group, anti-amendment forces count as supporters some 700 religious congregations representing almost 500,000 members.

Mike Tate, campaign director for Fair Wisconsin, believes some of his organization's success in gaining mainstream political support reflects a national trend. "I think a lot of it has to do with the national mood shifting on this," Tate says. "I think the public's just sick of this being brought up time and time again. They know it's divisive; they know it's mean-spirited."

The article concludes:
If stem cells do trump gay marriage in November, Wisconsin may prove to be a political testing ground for 2008 and beyond. Wisconsin is a purple state that was recently identified by CNN's polling director as the state whose demographics are most representative of the Union as a whole.

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