People Can't Stop Talking about This

It comes as shock to me--and most of us who have been living and breathing this issue--to realize most voters are just now beginning to turn their attention to what's on the ballot this November.

The work we have done over the past several months has set the stage so that when people tune in, they are tuning into a debate that we have framed. Without our efforts, it would be nearly impossible for us to be having a conversation today through the media and directly with voters that includes a strong focus on the far-reaching nature of the ban.

Just this morning, a Milwaukee TV morning show featured four segments about the ban. All four included a focus on the second sentence of the amendment, encouraging people to educate themselves and read the entire proposed constitutional amendment before deciding how to vote. The TV reporter even did her own "man on the street" interviews, asking people on the streets of Milwaukee to read the full amendment and explain what it all meant.

Another encouraging development is that people are really talking about the ban. Formal debates and forums are happening almost every day across Wisconsin. For example, a number of local forums are scheduled in churches and with League of Women Voter chapters and Rotary Clubs.

We have known all along that when people give the ban even a few minutes of their time, we gain voters. It's how we're going to win on November 7th.

Here is a rundown of some recent and upcoming debates.

An audio file of last night's debate between Julaine Appling and Mike Tate is now online. You can also catch coverage from The Waukesha Freeman, WTMJ Channel 4, and Fox News 6. Blogger James Widgerson has some interesting remarks on his blog.

If you missed the debate between Mike and Julaine last week in Green Bay, you can watch it online at this special page.

On Sunday morning, former Dane County supervisor Dick Wagner discussed the ban with Vote Yes for Marriage volunteer Jenny Baierl on Neil Heinen's For the Record program on Madison's Channel 3. It should be posted here at some point.

Last night in Fort Atkinson, a local chapter of the American Association of University Women sponsored their own debate. For the first time in a long time, one of the lawmakers who pushed the ban through the Legislature managed to make an appearance. Amendment author state Senator Scott Fitzgerald faced Eva Shiffrin, who has been active with Attorneys Against the Ban and appeared on Milwaukee Public Television’s Fourth Street Forum a few months ago.

Fort Atkinson is in Fitzgerald's senate district (so is Waterloo, a small city that passed a resolution against the ban), and he has insisted that, in pushing the ban, he represents the people of his district. About 60 people showed up, including about 10 people from our Action Network. According to them, the audience was overwhelmingly against the ban. Apparently, a tape of the debate will be shown on local cable access, and we hope to have a copy soon for YouTube.

One of the national partners for Julaine Appling's group, the Alliance Defense Fund, is sending in a speaker for two law school debates. The first was today at 11:45 at Marquette Law School. Wisconsin attorney Brenda Lewison squared off against Jordan Lorence from ADF.

The second Alliance Defense Fund debate is TONIGHT at 7pm in room 2260, UW Law School in Madison. Lorence will debate UW-Madison political science professor Howard Schweber.

I'm looking forward to hearing about these debates, especially because one of the Alliance Defense Fund's primary activities has been to file lawsuits challenging domestic partner policies all around the country. Feel free to comment if you attended either.

On Thursday, October 12, the Dells Country Progressive Voices group invites area residents to a discussion of the amendment at 7:00 PM at the Hilton Garden Inn at 101 E. Hiawatha Drive just off Highway 12 between the Del Bar and Houlihan’s. The Hiawatha meeting room is in the lower level. Rev. Curt Anderson from First Congregational Church of Madison will debate Julaine Appling.

Also on Thursday is another debate in the main theater at UW-Marathon County in Wausau. It starts at 7pm. Hilary Ware, an attorney for who grew up in Wausau, will debate a law professor from the Southern New England School of Law. (Notice a pattern? Our opponents seem to have to import people to defend the ban.)

Wisconsin Public Television will run a mock trial on the ban on Wednesday, October 25th featuring UW Law School professor Michele Lavigne and Rick Esenberg. Check this page for details.

On October 30th at noon, Mike Tate will debate Julaine Appling at UW-Fox Valley. We'll post complete details when we have them.

If I'm missing other debates (especially ones that are open to the public) please tell us about them in the comments.


At 10:13 PM, Blogger Rob said...

Keep up the good work guys. I know at times it can seem like it is an uphill battle, but you guys are making progress. There will always be those who are so close-minded that they will never change, but there are many others who once they know what this ammendment entails will see the harm it is doing to everyone -- gay and straight.

I applaud your efforts and your dedication.

At 7:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike, thanks for working to protect people instead of protecting an "institution" that was intially designed to make women and children the property of men.

At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Andy said...

Howard Schweber was on fire last night.

He argued our side with passion, facts, and humor. He won, hands down.

At 3:45 PM, Anonymous deke said...

A few months ago, after helping a friend change a tire, we were putting items back in his trunk when I saw a file of legal papers he kept. I understood instantly the files were there in the case he or his partner were involved in a medical situation on the road which required a hospital or doctor to be aware that this couple could and wanted to make decisions for each other in emergencies. Included in this file I saw were hospital visitation authorizations, living wills, directives to attending physicians, powers of attorney forms for both health care and finance that were notarized and signed by a raft of people. Additionally, there were forms for declaration of domestic partner status; a non-binding legal agreement to support the other documents claiming that the one had the right to assist the other in any situation. All of the forms were in duplicate and reciprocal, and must have cost a fair amount in attorney’s fees.

That is the reality of being gay in America in 2006. To ensure that basic rights and dignities are afforded gay couples, they must carry expensive legal documents with them–and then even some of those documents may not be honored, and they are to expect that. How many straight couples have you talked with that need and require the same such paperwork in the case of an accident? How many expect in advance that their wishes may or may not be honored in a time of crisis?


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