Election Night Remarks

We wanted to share something as soon as possible about tonight's results. Here's a rough draft (typos included) of the speech Mike gave tonight.


My friends, tonight we came up short in our struggle.

So many of you gave everything you had.

You pounded the pavements.

You emptied your wallets.

You forced yourselves to go up to the doors of strangers and ask them how they feel about something many of them had never discussed so openly before.

Many of you came out to more people than you wanted to because you knew telling your personal story was one of the best ways to change people’s minds.

Some of you have been giving this your all for almost three entire years. And many of us have made many personal sacrifices to make this campaign a top priority.

What I am most proud of most of all is how all of us dared to hope.

And we must not lose this hope and we cannot ignore what we have accomplished.

Because despite the results I still believe in a fair Wisconsin. I refuse to stop believing.

This debate was forced on us at a time and a place not of our choosing.

This fight against the amendment was never just about what happened today. All of us committed to a long-term struggle for equality and fairness for everyone. We cannot give up on Wisconsin, and there’s good reason not to.

We know for certain that many of the same people who voted for this amendment today are the very same people who will support equality for gay families within the next 5 or 10 years. That change might not have been on the timeline forced on us by our opponents, but we cannot ignore the fact that we have laid the foundation for long-term change in Wisconsin. Because of our work, more people in this state than ever before understand that gay families exist in this state and discrimination hurts them.

We may not have won the election, but there were so many victories along the way. We achieved many things that have drastically altered attitudes about gay people, gay families, and the way we do politics around this issue. We transformed a “gay rights” issue and made it a Wisconsin issue.

Our accomplishments are not in vain.

Two and a half years ago, it was unfathomable to most people, including myself, that we could wage a strong fight against the ban.

People said we couldn’t raise enough money. But we raised over $5 million from over 12,000 people to help us communicate with the people of this state.

People said we couldn’t recruit the volunteers necessary, but over 10,000 of you exploded that myth from day one.

They said elected leaders wouldn’t stand with us, and if they did, voters would reject them. But our leaders challenged that notion in fact, leaders like Gov. Doyle never wavered in his opposition to the amendment whether at a UAW rally or editorial board meetings in Baraboo.

Again and again, we proved the cynics wrong.

I know we have changed something fundamental because I saw it unfold in our offices every week of this campaign.

When I saw a standing-room only crowd of Fair Wisconsin supporters sitting in a church basement in Wausau back in March, I knew we were making change.

When I saw an ironworker stop by our office to take literature back to his local labor union because they had taken a position against the amendment, I knew we were making change.

When I saw clergy in their collars in Appleton explaining why the teachings of Jesus compel them to speak out, I knew were making change.

When I saw business leaders move from expressing private concerns to issuing press releases, I knew we were making change.

We set a high bar for ourselves and met it. This changed our campaign but it also changed the way people view gay families and gay issues in this state.

We transformed this so-called wedge issue into an issue that united Wisconsinites of all backrounds. We have made equality and fairness for gay Wisconsinites something that is embraced by many organizations, leaders, and average citizens.

Thank you to the thousands of gay and lesbian people who did not ask for this fight, who did not want to become poster children. You chose to interrupt your lives so that one day our children will know a world without discrimination.

You bravely stepped up to put your lives on display.

Thank you to all of you who like me aren’t gay but made this issue your own. Thousands of you refused to stand by silently while your friends, families, and citizens we will never meet were attacked with this amendment.

Together, all of us stood shoulder to shoulder—grandmothers, farmers, ministers, school teachers, and many, many more of us from all walks of life.

And although we didn’t win we ran a historic effort that changed Wisconsin.


At 12:04 AM, Blogger Belle And Sebastian said...

On a night like this, when victory is bittersweet - so many progressives have won, it is sad that we have not won. And I feel at a loss, like there was something more I could have done. I hope that even though I didn't volunteer as much as I would have liked, that my talking about it with people actually made some difference in people's minds. I guess I'm trying to find meaning in all of this. I never thought of my state as being a place that would pass an ammendment so cruel. But I guess it was. I just don't want it to be because I didn't do enough.

At 12:05 AM, Blogger David Hay said...

Take heart wisconsin, we convinced 450,000 people to stand with us today.

Though we have not yet created the Fair Wisconsin we so desperately dream of, we are well on our way.

Exit polls show that as the seasons change, so do our hopes of equality become stronger.

Of people under 30, nearly 70% voted NO. Of those over 65, nearly 70% voted yes...

We will acheive full equality in Wisconsin - we must not give up, we must not stop talking about our hopes, our deams, our lives, and our loves.

Together with each and everyone of you,


At 12:59 AM, Blogger georgia said...

Thank you to Mike Tate, all of the Fair Wisconsin staff and the many volunteer supporters – and their families. We cannot forget the financial supporters either. I was at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center all day and watched volunteers and staff doing their best to stop this amendment from passing for many reasons – as many reasons as there were volunteers and staff.

I, for one, am proud to have been a part of this over the past two years, and have met people that I will never forget. I know that we will work together again in the future - and it will be good. We will, at some point, overturn this and we will only strengthen the bonds that were made in this campaign. Again thank you to each and every single person who worked to stop this amendment from passing.

At 1:15 AM, Blogger Frieda said...

I have had the pleasure of volunteering for Fair Wisconsin and seeing a few things from the "inside" recently.

My impression: WOW!!!!

What an inspiring group of people!!! Whatever they may have thought about the potential for defeat, either individually or collectively, they showed complete dedication to the cause!!!! Regardless of what anyone else thought, they pressed on and dedicated their all to defeating this hateful amendment!!!

Anyone who voted "No" on this amendment needs to whole-heartedly give thanks to everyone who busted their butts to try to defeat this amendment.

One step back, but two steps forward in the future!!

At 1:24 AM, Blogger gizmorg said...

it is heartbreaking to see this go down as a defeat but is warming to see it as a new beginning. We are on our way to a fair wisconsin and I will continue to throw my voice out there in support of such issues.

At 4:13 AM, Blogger Floating Heads said...

We have some great supporters, gay and straight, on our side. Alas, I talked to so many people who were told by their churches to vote Yes on the amendment, and I think they felt obligated to vote this way. For those of us who are religious, we need to make a stand against such blatant hate being preached by our clergy. (Not all clergy, of course. But we know the moral majority is pushing their agenda of intolerance every chance they get.)

We need to educate our public on the difference between state-sanctioned marriage and the religious interpretation. They aren't the same thing. But people aren't making the connection. That is the focus we must have if we hopeto change this debacle around.

And for those members of religious groups, we must "out" the church organizations who told their congregations how to vote. We must take our donations from these so-called compassionates and move on to more accepting, open-minded churches.

We don't have to lose our religion, but we may have to leave our churches.

Organized religion, it would seem, is nothing more than organized hatred. I will not donate to the church any longer. They can't have it both ways. They should be ashamed of what they preach to good-natured people.

In better news, the overwhelming response we had from our supporters has been excellent. Very promising. Kudos to Fair Wisconsin, Action Wisconsin, and all the volunteers who fought the good fight.

We shall overcome. (Especially with the majority of Democrats on our side.)

Have hope!

At 5:55 AM, Blogger britt said...

From South Bend Indiana I wanted to send my thoughts of admiration and awe at what you were able to accomplish. I know that the loss is disheartening, but please know that from afar you have created a momemtum that willnot stop. Your reasonableness and passion is a tribute to our democratic system. You are to be commended for your organization and ability to plant seeds in communities across Wisconsin and hopefully across this country that will grow into mighty oaks.

At 6:37 AM, Blogger gossimer said...

I guess I knew deep down inside that this amendment would pass, but still I hoped. I wrote a letter to my local paper in response to another letter that was written, I received nothing but positive comments on it. Here is the link to it, if anyone is interested, http://www.ashlandwi.com/dailypress/index.php?sect_rank=6&story_id=211466.

Well, what's next, where do we go from here? I mean, honestly, the amendment is passed, I've never heard of an amendment ever being reversed, or re-amended at a later time, has anyone here? I know there is always HOPE for a better and brighter tomorrow, but in the meantime, what do we do, just wait?

At 6:59 AM, Blogger Skippy said...

I am not going to take the time to read all of this but... YOU LIED... to so many people... YOU LIED to people who where going to vote no and TRICKED them into voting yes... YOU CALLED PEOPLE AND TOLD THEM TO VOTE NO IF THEY WANTED TO KEEP MARRIAGE BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN... FAIR WISCONSIN DESTROYED GAY COUPLES FUTURES BECAUSE THEY LIED... YOU LIED... YOU FLAT OUT LIED TO THE PEOPLE OF THIS STATE... Why lie... all we want is the truth... Fair WISCONSIN made us out to be fakes... phoneys... and fair WISCONSIN hurt the gay community SEVERELY... NEVER TO BE FORGIVEN... I would like to see Fair Wisconsin Retired... and will not rest until that happens... NO BODY that sticks up for me is going to go around and LIE...

At 7:08 AM, Blogger Lori said...

Thank you Ingrid for your words of hope. I woke up this morning hoping for a change from last nights polls, not to be.

I came into this game late, but have been told I should be proud of what time I did give, the calls I made, the people I convinced to vote the fair way.

The fight isn't over and I will be around giving my time until we all have equal & fair treatment in this state.

At 7:12 AM, Blogger Kyle said...

It's a disappointing end to a fight that involved so many individuals, myself included. Even though I am in Massachusetts in college right now, I maintained an active reading presence with Fair Wisconsin and did what I could.

Quite honestly, I expected better from the citizens of Wisconsin, Democrats especially to come out in large numbers to defeat the ban but we couldn't carry Milwaukee, Racine or Kenosha. The Democrats who lead WI and were voted confidently into office almost all opposed this measure; a unifying support doesn't seem as evident in the general population.

With 59% of people voting "yes", that was a larger percentage than in Arizona, South Dakota,Colorado and Viriginia who voted "yes". We have to ask ourselves why. However, I don't think there is any one answer.

We raised millions of dollars, had over 10,000 volunteers in the vast reaches of the state, and probably one of the biggest in state efforts to defeat such a ban as we have seen before. And most of all, we were such a devoted and motivated team that supported each other and really tried to worked together to help. It was truly remarkable to see.

Yet even in the prospects of a long battle ahead of us, there is hope. It looks like Arizona will be the first state to defeat a ban on gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships in this country. We have a more determined and focused mission than even before and a younger generation to help realize what we can do.

The next few days will be difficult because we have been so invested in Fair Wisconsin, but we have to be mindful and conscious of what we have ahead.

At 7:27 AM, Blogger Doug said...

What happened? How can Democrats be basking in victory all over the country, and here in Wisconsin Doyle easily won. But yet so many Democrats who voted for their candidates voted to support the amendment? How can that be? I'm gay, Catholic, and a Republican on most issues, but voted "no" yesterday and volunteered for a year for Fair Wisconsin. I met so many Democrats (in fact I was the only gay Republican in my "action network") and they all tried so hard to convince me that the Democrats had our back in this fight. And it turned out to not be the case. I live in Wood Country, and the Democratic voters outnumbered the Republicans, and Doyle and Vrwink won hands down! Yet voters voted 2 to 1 in favor of the amendment here. I am very disappointed in the Democratic party who I feel didn't do enough to support the gay community in Wisconsin.

At 7:35 AM, Blogger AngelAiken AKA Thee U.M.O.G said...

I am feeling very sad about this today. It's really too bad...
I am not old enough to vote, so I was forced to merely watch.

At 7:38 AM, Blogger Reoh said...

Thank you so much for all your hard work. I moved out of Wisconsin in April, but steadily volunteered for Action Wisconsin previously and came out to my extended family in August, partly to persuade them to vote against the ban.

The strength, integrity, and conviction of all of you makes me proud. I know we can overturn this.

At 8:13 AM, Blogger George said...

My heart is breaking for all my friends who have worked so hard to come so close only to have the door slammed shut so tightly, though not permanently. My only small consolation is to live in La Crosse, which narrowly voted against the amendment by 16 votes.

Fortunately, many, many, hearts have been changed and we will not give up the fight for fairness and equality.

To all the extremely smart and hard working staff at FairWI and all the equally talented volunteers who've sacrificed so much time and money, a very heartfelt thank you.

At 8:25 AM, Blogger MattB said...

When will the gay community realize that people just don't want gay marriage no matter how much you try subtly sneaking it by them. Go somewhere else and leave Wisconsin alone. Take your automated voice message lies with you. You didn't fool me.

At 8:30 AM, Blogger Chaviva said...

Once again the RR wins (Religious Right)
We have sent out a positive message by knocking on doors and stumping around our state talking to people one at a time or in groups. However, the rr sandbagged us again. At least we have Arizona and my hat is off to the Arizonians! They had the vision to stop the amendment from passing by casting their ballots to oppose it. We did too, but alas, not enough votes to stop it.
Which brings me back to Wisconsin. I know that our state motto is "Forward", but what happened? Am I suppose to wait around 5-10 more years to come with a hope filled heart waiting for what? Another challenge to this ban? Honestly, I don't know where I'll be in 5-10 years from now, but I do know how I feel right now and it isn't good. I often thought of moving to Canada and this was before the referendum. The only reason I stay in Wisconsin now is for my Dad and a beloved Auntie. When they have passed from this life I certainly will be leaving Wisconsin.
I thank everyone for all their hard work on pressing forward towards the "NO" vote. Everyone put their best foot forward with monetary contributions, and people power. Many Blessings all of you!
Chaviva Ben-John

At 8:49 AM, Blogger brad in WI said...

Let's just ignore Skippy's comments above. Clearly, he was not involved in the volunteer effort. If he had been, he would know that we were not lying at all and went out of our way to be completely forthright with voters when we talked with them at the doors. I too am disappointed that we didn't achieve the overall success we were seeking, but I do agree that we changed the dialogue and that's a good thing. We just need to keep the conversation out there and continue to show the injutices that this Amendment most certainly will dish out. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard on the campaign

At 10:23 AM, Blogger gaytaxidriver said...

It was a privilege to work with you guys. They'll come around eventually. As an English judge once said about gay marriage in his ruling "It is the tide of history."

At 10:38 AM, Blogger Portland said...

To all the dedicated, hardworking, and courageous staff and volunteers who made Fair Wisconsin what it was and who dared to let hope guide their efforts for many months (and for some of you, years), congratulations. Despite the loss, you moved mountains. You brought together a community of people who will thrive on support you helped to generate and you took an issue that desperately needed attention and put it on the front page of Wisconsin. It reassures me daily to know that people like you are out there and continue to fight for such central causes. With patience, we will undoubtedly get there. Here’s to you, FW; don’t even think of hanging your heads.

At 10:39 AM, Blogger Jenn said...

It's a tough day. Although I wish we had won, I know that having had the opportunity to fight in such a public arena was a victory in itself. This issue of basic civil rights has never before been so widely discussed. It has never been so public. We will continue working to keep this issue at the front of all the work we do, and we will have a fair Wisconsin.

At 11:01 AM, Blogger agaydean said...

I am grateful for all that Fair Wisconsin attempted, and I supported the effort. But today I feel doubly defeated because the tactic to defeat the amedment was to play to the self-interest of the straight world--pass this amendment and you might hurt straight people. The unstated message always was that it is ok to hurt gay people if they are the only ones to get hurt. Now one cannot even claim a moral victory.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Vance Skinner - Waukesha said...

I’m devastated. My partner and I poured our hearts and soul into this fight. I went to bed numb and woke up pondering and questioning. My partner and I look into our daughters eyes and know this day is now different from yesterday. One daughter asked “are you happy Daddy?”… I had to look away and say yes as tears began to flow. Unlike the commercial we aired, EVERYTHING has changed the day after. We (all of us) including my family are now considered second class citizens. Bigotry now has a mandate in this State. We may be thankful for all those who voted for equality, but the truth be told; the Christian Right is destructive to our society and the well being of America as a whole. If it is blame people are seeking, then blame the Religious “Right”. They are the demise of fairness and equality – What would Jesus say to them? You are either part of their world or you are a sinner and there is no room between. I was once a Pentecostal and a Republican, recently migrated towards Democrats, but now this party has abandoned us and taken our votes for granted. I’m struggling with how my family can remain in a state where people will now have a mandate to look at us differently and believe we are immoral sinners who are destroying society…it is overwhelming and I don’t know if my kids should have to endure 20 years of Wisconsin before a true change will happen here.

Vance Skinner

At 11:23 AM, Blogger Jenni said...

The problem is, how do you reach people like MattB, who just want to spew hatred and ask everyone who isn't identical to them to "leave"? I find Matt's comment repulsive and small-minded, but I still wouldn't ask him to leave Wisconsin. And that's the difference between people who want a fair Wisconsin and people who just want whatever they want, no matter who gets hurt.

Even still, there's hope for the future. Everyone in my age group (20s), including my Republican friends, voted No. We'll win in the end!

At 11:24 AM, Blogger penny said...

I was deeply saddend when I woke up this morning and found we had been defeated. I don't understand how people can completely misconstrue what this meant. Obviously people are still very uneducated in this modern society that we have. This is a real slap in the face for those of us that are in monogomous relationships that are one man and one woman. I truly believe are government has crossed the line and is regulately are basic freedom of choice. I don't believe that I should have to marry the man that I love just to reep the benefits of him having better health than I do or vise versa. When is it all gonna end? What is it gonna take to keep the government from taking away all of the things that gave us our freedom. I am so disappointed. What freedom are they going to take away from us next; the freedom of speak?

At 11:33 AM, Blogger ForTheGoodOfTheState said...

One really has to wonder how so many Democrats won and yet how the amendment was so handily defeated. Perhaps some of our Democratic friends are not as supportive of the gay community as we have been led to believe?

At 11:46 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

First of all, let's look at the positives of this.

Dane County is on its own island this morning. According to the Dane County clerks office, 142,466 voted no while 70,360 voted yes. Even the community I live in and wrote a letter to the editor to also supported the no vote, 2860 voted no while 2232 voted yes.

I know that this isn't good news for the rest of the state, but to have one county show support to the no vote like this does say something, especially in the area that Bishop Morlino looks over. That alone should be a wake up call.

Another positive, is education. For me personally, this has been a great learning experience. A lot of things that I have learned from other people's comments and the information that Fair Wisconsin provided on their website helped me learn about myself a lot more. For the longest time in my life, I denied who I was and was ashamed for who I am. This campaign, has made it easier for me to understand who I am and cannot wait for what the future holds not only for me but for others.

I think the biggest thing from this, is that Fair Wisconsin was able to start the process of stopping the stereotyping of the LBGT community. This should not end and should continue to go forward. We need to continue the education to others. It seems like Dane County is a good starting point and that can expand throughout the state.

Most of all, while many may have voted yes, I think the LBGT community has earned their respect as well. And I think someday, we will have another referendum on the ballot to reverse the second part and include domestic partners and/or civil unions.

I also think we should continue to encourage employers to voluntarily provide domestic partner benefits to their employees. If 254 of the Fortune 500 companies think its the best thing for them, I think we will continue to see that number grow. Because employers look at the LBGT community as an asset and not a headache. We are an equally valued employee just like the next employee.

This is not a day to mourn, but a day to put our heads up and keep pushing forward. We didn't win the battle on 11/7, but no one has told us that the war has ended. Let's be positive, open minded and continue to get rid of the stereotyping that I think many used as the reason to vote yes.

Let's make them mentally regret for voting yes. And finally, I pray that those parents who voted yes for the protection of their children, are still supportive to their children when they come out and tell them they are gay or lesbian. My parents were great to me when I came out, and I hope that the future is like that for many others. This is not nor ever will be a choice. This is who we are.

Kevin Ramsell

At 11:47 AM, Blogger Richard S. Russell said...

I served as an election official in Ward 46, which abuts the east end of the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison. Our ward is about 3 city blocks on a side and comprises almost entirely students, in private dorms, apartments, coops, and Greek housing.

I worked steadily -- and I do mean steadily, literally without 5 seconds interruption aside from 1 desperate bathroom break, and no time for food or drink -- from 7 AM to 8 PM registering new voters. By the end of the night, we had registered 1100 new voters.

Ward 46 went 7 to 1 against the bigotry amendment. I was thinking that was pretty impressive until I checked the voting-machine tape from Ward 40, the other ward that shared our room in Memorial Library. Ward 40, also almost entirely students, ran 10 to 1 against the amendment.

Interestingly, both wards were only about 3 to 1 against the death penalty, indicating that this wasn't just a case of students being knee-jerk liberals.

Friends, the future DOES belong to us. Which, regrettably, doesn't mean we just get to sit back and wait for it to arrive. We must still go out and seize it and make it our own.

We now have a magnificent infrastructure in place to do exactly that.


We will persevere. We shall overcome.

-- Richard S. Russell
62-year-old straight (but not narrow) guy

At 12:01 PM, Blogger ghost said...

59% in favor to 41% opposed. I was tempted to be discouraged until I spent a little time thinking about it...

40 years ago, such a ban would have passed with 95% of the vote.
20 years ago, such a ban would have passed with 80% of the vote.
20 years from now, such discriminatory positions will only be held by 40% of the population.
40 years from now, a zealous 20% will be the only population holding on to bigotry.

You can't stop progress. This ban was supported by the old, and opposed by the young... and the old people are gonna die first.

At 12:31 PM, Blogger MetalPhil said...

This sucks. I'm ashamed to be a Wisconsin citizen right now. I just can't believe that people would do this.

At 12:42 PM, Blogger Melissa Ives said...

I am so disappointed by the outcome of this issue...I really believed more people would've seen this referendum for what it is. But this is only a set back...we have to continue to fight for everyone's rights and hopefully we'll be able to live in a world and country that is truly free.

At 2:05 PM, Blogger Miss Judy said...

It broke my heart too to see the amendment pass. At the same time, I am also able to see that this campaign has raised the consciousness of many in the state.
I think that Skippy's comments are histrionic; however, I think Matt's comment should not be ignored. The campaign was a mainstream - Democrat-style political campaign. As such, I think compromises were made in the name of perceived political expediency. Although we did indeed talk of gay and lesbian couples and their families, much of the campaign downplayed 'queerness' and focused on the effects the amendment would have on "all non-married couples", i.e., straight folks. It's a dicey path to walk - on the one hand we were asking people to expand their hearts and consciousness and really question why they are so afraid of queer folks; on the other hand we were in effect saying "Don't think about homosexuals if they creep you out; think about how this would affect 'normal' people," thus tacitly accepting homophobia.
Could we have waged a successful campaign without making these compromises? Probably not. However, we still need to look at these issues head-on, engage in constructive self-criticism and consider their effects, not just dismiss them as givens or necessary evils.

At 2:05 PM, Blogger danikalaine said...

I was at the Doyle/Dem victory part last night and during Doyle's victory speech I kept waiting for him to mention something about the ban passing, the discrimination, the rights lost, etc. I waited for some acknowledgement of the loss and, instead, here's what I got:

Excerpt from Doyle's victory speech:
"I want to thank the incredible team of Fair Wisconsin. I hope people aren't too discouraged because their work really helped my campaign others across the state. They worked so hard, they were so committed, I want to thank them for what they have done."

It sounds to me like Doyle said don't feel too sad (gays) and thanks for helping me get reelected!

Listen for yourself:
http://blogs.wispolitics.com/2006election/index.html (scroll down to Doyle audio)

At 2:28 PM, Blogger Charles Rathmann said...

Miss Judy speaks the truth, and it is a truth I think was lost on a number of people.

You can't stand on principle with feet of clay. I borrowed that saying from Dick Armey, and it is a good one. I know a number of liberal religious organizations bought into this secular campaign, using secular methods and secular arguments. But marriage is a religious institution at its heart and this is a religious issue. For if two people are united in the eyes of God, what business does the government have standing in His way.

Civil disobedience as practiced by Gandhi is one way to change people's positions. Live openly as committed people and the community will see the error in their ways. I suspect that Quakers and hopefully other religious bodies will continue to recognize same-sex couples, and I hope the incongruity of this with the direction our legal system is going speaks to that of God in the people!

~ Charles Rathmann

At 2:32 PM, Blogger Diane Whit said...

I spent my adult life abroad and only recently returned to my native Wisconsin. I’m not a Packer Backer, not a Badger fan, abhor ‘Iowa jokes’ and have always thought birth is a geographical accident to which no sense of pride should be attached.

But I see I was fooling myself, because I was so excited and truly believed that Wisconsin would be the first state to defeat this kind of amendment (hurray for Arizona!). I fooled myself about winning, and fooled myself about having no emotional attachment to this particular grouping of 72 counties. Otherwise, how do I explain the heart-breaking shame I feel today about being a native and a resident of a state that has just endorsed bigotry?

I want to thank the entire staff of Fair Wisconsin and all the volunteers who poured their souls into this battle. How much I learned by playing a small part in the process and having the privilege of meeting many spectacular, dedicated, and fair-hearted people. I especially want to thank Mike Tate for his speech last night. Thank you, Mike, for helping me to see the many victories that I had been missing. I tend to forget my own philosophy: the politics of social change is not about a single goal; it’s a process we live every day.

And a special final thanks to Jenni and her friends, and the 70% of the youth who voted NO. The change IS coming!


At 3:57 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

I am as disappointed with the results of Tuesday election results in regards to the Marriage Amendment like all of you, but I don't think we can look at it as a total loss.

When this Amemendment was authored, the people who wrote and supported the Amendment had no idea what kind of support the Gay and Lesbian community would be able to generate. They look at this bill as a no brainer and that it would pass with ease, instead we had 41% of the state voting to protect everyones rights. We need to look at how many of our friends, families, co-workers, etc have become aware to sensitive issues that impact the lives of Gays and Lesbian. This Amendment gave us a voice to say we are no different from anyone else and a lot of people have heard that message. I think this will be a springboard that will continue to enlighten people, and we as a community have to continue to educate and promote positive images of our community.

We also can't look at this as a Republican/Democrat issue. People from both political parties voted on either side of the issue. I know a lot of Republicans who voted NO, and are just as ashamed of the election results. We have to continue to educate people of both sides, and can only hope for a brighter future with more awareness and respect.

At 4:03 PM, Blogger psion9999 said...

I won't hide my anger at my life being politicized and I won't hide my hatred of all those who have done so. I'm not strong enough to keep myself from it. But, this is only directed at those who knew what they were doing, and hid behind the face of their religion and used phrases like "protecting marriage from being redifined" to mask their bigotry and ignorance. I pity all the others who voted "yes" out of confusion and because they were directed to do so by their churches. With education, those people can be reached in the future. It is the truly hateful people that will lose out in the end, because I believe that they are vocal and powerful now, but small in number. The youth of today truly will bring a bright future. They are more enlightened in what is truly good and right in society, and they will overcome the bigots and religious zealots in time.

What I would like to see start immediately are efforts to continue the fight. I have heard that constitutional amendments are pretty hard to overturn, but we have to try. In addition to fighting to keep the rights that couples already have from being eroded, I feel that we really need to start finding out what can be done to reverse this process, if anything. It has become far too personal for me now, and I will getting even more vocal than I was before (if that is possible).

I hope everyone manages to keep their chin up and stand proud of what accomplishments were made, even though ignorance and bigotry have won for now. And when idiots come on here and try to make inflammatory comments, just laugh in their faces. The tide is changing but it's just going to take a little longer than we had hoped.

At 4:23 PM, Blogger wherestherage?! said...

So, what's next?

All of the time, money, energy, and hope has gone into defeating this amendment and now, it's over.

We lost.

After spending a day feeling numb and inferior, I am ready to ask, What's next? And Where is the Rage?

How far will we take this fight - or will the community just go back to doing what it has always done, waiting to react to the dominant culture's homophobic and lesbophobic actions and thinking we are safe as long as we have a few struggling and divided organizations here and there all working on separate issues or covering the same issue and wasting time re-inventing the wheel rather than working together in respect and empowerment for all lesbian and gay people.

The movement wasn't moving until this amendment ...so is it going to stop? Are we all burnt out? Are we tired? Are the straights and the democrats going to pack up and leave, farwell to the 'divisive issue' of gay and lesbian equality, and hello business as usual?

What is next? Where to and how far and how many of us will still be here, still standing, and not waiting for those in power to give us our rights, but rather, asserting our rights, taking them, and making those in power do what's right.

I'm glad we have gained so many new supporters, I'm glad so many people were mobilized, energized, ready to fight ...but, the fight is not over and it's going to get worse before anything gets better.

We need some rowdy wild public demonstrations. We need a mass movement. We need our bus boycott, our lunch counter sit-in. We need our march on washington. We need action not reaction.

Thanks to all of the volunteers, new and old, thanks to people who voted no, thanks to the people who found their voice, thanks to the people who used that voice in the name of respect, dignity and equality.

We woke up on November 7th with no rights to protect ourselves or the ones we love, and we went to bed with even less, and without hope. But, we can't shrug this off and wait. It's time for actual action. It's time for a movement. It's time for the revolution that has been unfinshed for so long to finally rise up!

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Grumpus said...

I moved here three years ago because I loved Wisconsin and its diversity, its tolerance, and its quirky communities and people. I loved the Wisconsin Idea. Coming from the East coast, I felt as though I was in a bit of a "Northern Exposure" moment.

But that moment effectively ended last night. I just don't feel safe, secure, or welcome anymore in Wisconsin, and as a result I am moving out of Wisconsin as soon as possible. I am sad about it, but my instincts tell me I must do so.

I am a gay man in my late thirties, but I have to say I was terribly heartened on the few occasions I was able to volunteer for FW at the State Street office that there were so many twentysomething folks invested in this. Please, no matter what, don't ever give up the belief that you can make changes in the world. It may come too late to have an effect on my life, but it is certainly in reach for you and your partners and families, when you reach that stage of your lives.

At 5:33 PM, Blogger Therese said...

It is mind boggling that this 'progressive ' state could vote like this, but that is another story.

I just have to thank all of you who cared about this - there are over 800, 000 who really get it. I really admire, and appreciate all people who rallied around this, even though it would have no effect on you one way or the other.

And thanks to the FW staff who led us through this fight, and stayed positive in the face of our oppostion ( who has not always been so nice).

I believe that in the future these attitudes will pay off for all of us.

Thanks to all.

At 5:38 PM, Blogger kris7515 said...

I just wanted to say that although i am extremely sadden by the outcome of the election, I must truly state how impressed I am with the hard work that Fair Wisconsin and all its volunteers have done. I have NEVER seen a gay rights grassroots movement so thorough, diligant and hard working ! I was so impressed.

At 5:43 PM, Blogger PAZ said...

I was a poll watcher yesterday in Kenosha County, and I was extremely encouraged by the number of young people who were registering for the first time. Call it naive, but I wasn't expecting this hateful amendment to pass. I was sure that, if a person read through the wording of the proposed amendment, the only logical reaction would be to vote no. I knew that if the amendment was limited in scope and just contained the "marriage to be defined as between a man and a woman" part, it would pass no problem (although in my opinion it still would be wrong). But the second clause of the amendment, I was sure, would cause it to be defeated as too overreaching.

So, as I sat there for thirteen hours yesterday and made sure that all these new voters were treated well and given the opportunity to cast ballots, my optimism increased. Finally, after 8:pm, when the voting machine produced a paper tape containing the totals for the day, my heart sank. Here I was in a strongly democratic ward. The numbers for Doyle were overwhelming. Yet, this ridiculous amendment was winning easily at this location. I then knew what the outcome would be for Wisconsin as a whole. I was crushed. This amendment, and the one regarding the death penalty, meant more to me than any other decision presented to Wisconsin voters yesterday, because they told me, this is the kind of state that you live in; these are the kinds of people that are your neighbors. So today, despite the other victories of the democrats, I feel a bit empty.

Reading the other comments from you all has helped. It is important to focus on the future, to continue to build the momentum, and wait for the right time to turn the tide. In the meantime, no doubt this amendment will lead to litigation. Courts will be called upon to decide the fate of existing employer-granted domestic partnership benefits, and other legal implications. As an attorney I am ready to jump in to ask courts to interpret this thing as narrowly as possible. I don't know if anyone knows of an attorney network that would be appropriate for this type of interest, or if Fair Wisconsin would form one, but I think this might be the next logical area of focus.

Thank you so much to Fair Wisconsin for your efforts. You all did an amazing job. And, after having a day to reflect, I can smile and say, THIS is the kind of state that I live in; YOU are the kinds of people that are my neighbors.

At 5:49 PM, Blogger Raisin in flames said...

First, a question to those who know that:

Will we have a second chance? If so, when? I don't believe the ban is permanent!!!

And now, my thoughts:
I seriously did not have time to participate in volunteering for Fair Wisconsin, but I voted NO and I am very proud of you guys who did such an excellent job!!! I am sure that you got the youth... and the youth is our future, right?

According to Mr. Hay, it were the old peoples who voted YES on the ban- and it is EXTREMELY hard to persuade the old peoples on something, if they believed the opposite to be true for such a long time. But the future is ours- in 50 years everyone will be surprised the ban even existed...

At 8:36 PM, Blogger Derve said...

Is that it then?

The FairWisconsin leaders have nothing to add here today? I appreciated the hastily posted remarks last night (though I have to wonder if Mr. Tate's disappointment was offset by the Doyle campaign win). Still, nothing at all to say on the day after? Now is the time, in the next few days, to evaluate what could have been done differently --different strategies -- to have made this a winning campaign. I understand the need to take solace in what was gained, but don't fear critical analysis of what went wrong. Thanks for you efforts, but please tell us if all the funds raised have been spent; if not, where do they go? Any comment on Ms. Appling's claims that her group will be taking on no-fault divorce in WI? Listen, most people have to get up and work the next day. I understand the disappointment, but I think you owe us a wrap-up post here, for those who have been following the campaign fundraising and progress. The day off is over. Toughen up, and complete the job you took on, with an eye on what could have been done diffently. (The fact that they used the power of the pulpit, plus had so much less of a budget to work with yet won, might be a good place to start asking questions. Should the campaign have less on fairness and convincing folks to like us, and more on what the expected legal challenge will cost the state? I suggested we consider this approach some time back, so it's not really retrospective thinking. Also, as people mentioned earlier, we kind of sold ourselves out with that one ad saying "Vote no. Nothing will change." It may have helped to be moderate to win the governor's seat, but it did not prove helpful to us. Sometimes you have to risk to win, not be too kind and cautious, like we were in those online debates. Insider wrap-up opinions would be appreciated. Thank you.

At 11:46 PM, Blogger sara said...

I am a student at UW-La Crosse, and I watched the election until the early in the morning. In the end, La Crosse County beat the ban by 17 votes! Though a tiny margin, it is still a small victory. Every vote truly counts, this only further proves it. We'll beat this, don't give up hope.

At 9:24 AM, Blogger linda said...

Like everyone else who cares, I'm feeling disapointed and depressed that our "progressive" state has chosen to discriminate against people I love. It's unfair and heartbreaking. I too am waiting for the phenomenal leadership of Fair Wisconsin to let us know where we go from here. However, we need to be patient and understand that if we, as volunteers and contributers, are feeling down, those who spent their lives over the last couple of years on the effort deserve whatever time they need to recover. Just know, leaders, that you created an unprecedented grassroots movement that is ready to continue the fight. We may not have been successful in turning down the ban, but we were successful in raising awareness and we must keep the issue of human rights in the public's mind. When you're ready, I'm ready!

At 9:27 AM, Blogger Lawyapalooza said...

I think the last post here is a little unfair. Please understand that the staff and volunteers have been working 90-100 hour weeks for months now. They have poured their hearts, souls and bodies into this campaign more than anyone from the outside could ever know. They deserve some rest and time to regroup. These people are tougher, smarter, and more committed to fighting this than any group in the nation. Give them a day for goodness sake!

However, there is a plan to move forward. Staff, board and volunteers have created a short-term transition plan to get through the next couple of weeks. Then there will be strategic-planning sessions (already scheduled) to create a formal plan to respond to this hateful amendment. We will capitalize on the momentum we have gained. Literally hundreds of thousands of non-GLBT voters embraced our mission. Given where the polls stood on this issue merely 12 months ago, FW has had a massive positive impact.

A note about strategy: FW was the first (and I believe may still be the only) group to put GLBT people on TV in its commercials. Of course, FW also reached out to people explaining how it hurts straight people as well. Understand that the reason Arizona turned this back is not because they embraced gay people. It is because they have a very high retirement community of straight, unmarried couples. In other words, people voted because they believed it would affect them.

Fair Wisconsin is going to continue the fight, and we will not rest until all citizens have equal protections under our laws. We can't do this unless the tens of thousands of volunteers and contributors commit to continuing the fight. Personally, I am going to commit to donate money and time to press on. Who will join me?

At 10:25 AM, Blogger Todd said...

I'm so impressed by the staff at Fair Wisconsin. As a volunteer and as a gay Wisconsinite, I can only say that your organization, the media coverage (all those wonderful editorials), this blog, the beautiful website, the fantastic field operation (even Sensenbrenner is saying that we were responsible for getting rid of anti-gay politicians like Reynolds and Zien and Brown!): it was all incredible . . .

I'll miss Fair Wisconsin and even all the work, but at the same time I'm very, very ready to roll up my sleeves and start working on our agenda -- to start playing offense instead of defense (what more could the anti-gay forces send our way?). I don't know if that will be with Action Wisconsin or something else. But when they put out the call, I'll be there.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Kent Walker said...

From my Blog:

So I have a new anthem for those of us in Wisconsin who now feel like second-class citizens because of the passage of the discriminatory anti-gay bigoted civil union ban. It is a song called "You Are Love (Don't Give Up)" by Josh Groban on his new CD "Awake".

It was interesting how I found it.

Tuesday evening. I was getting ready for a long night of poll watching when I received an email from Apple Computer. They send out an iTunes email on Tuesdays with new listings and artist profiles. Having long liked Josh Groban, it was exciting to see that he had a new CD. I clicked on the link, listened to the first song, and purchased the entire CD. Once it downloaded I backed it up and that was the end of it. I paid no attention to the names of the songs and listened no further.

Tuesday night. Doom. It was not long until the AP was declaring the ban a go and I just felt awful. Although my work for Fair Wisconsin was not insignificant, I couldn't help but think of all the workers who devoted hours and hours every week and every day to try to defeat the ban. My heart was literally broken. I stayed up long enough to see that the Democrats definitely had at least won power of the house and I sadly went to bed.

Wed morning. It was a vacation day for me. Joey, my wonderful HUSBAND, left for work and I just wandered around in a daze. I don't think I had actually allowed myself to consider defeat and thus when it happened, I was ill prepared. I couldn't help but think of Julaine Appling and her disciples gloating. I guess they are entitled as I presume I would be doing a bit of gloating had the vote gone the other direction. Still, the image of her in my mind was disturbing. VERY DISTURBING. Unable to get motivated I just roamed from room to room trying to find something meaningful to do. It was then that I saw the CD I had burned the night before. Ah, music. That would be better than all the talking heads on TV.

I popped-in the CD and waited as it prepared to play. "Reading", "Reading", Reading" kept flashing trying to find the tracks. Blink, it was ready and the first song began to play. I thought to myself, "What will we do now? I can't stand this." While that thought was running through my mind, I skipped the first song as I had listened to it the night before. The second song began playing as I slowly walked over to gaze out the window. And that is when it happened.

Josh Groban began singing and this is what I heard:

Don't give up
It's just the weight of the world
When you're heart's heavy
I...I will lift it for you

Don't give up
Because you want to be heard
If silence keeps you
I...I will break it for you

Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up
Because you are loved

I burst into tears and just collapsed on the floor. How could this song have been more appropriate to the moment. I was in despair, feeling alone and wounded. I had never heard the song before and didn't even know the title. I had difficulty hearing all the lyrics as I was sobbing so heavily.

The song went on:

Don't give up
It's just the hurt that you hide
When you're lost inside
I...I will be there to find you

Don't give up
Because you want to burn bright
If darkness blinds you
I...I will shine to guide you

Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up
Because you are loved

So yes, we all just wanted to be heard and understood and that didn't completely happen. However, I felt so much better the rest of the day. I decided that I would no longer hide or "be considerate" when in public. If I want to hold my husband's hand even in the presence of children or obviously religious zealots, I will. I will not hide myself or my feelings. I will not be considerate of "their sensibilities" as they really obviously don't care about mine. I will never again refer to my husband as "my friend" for fear of stirring up trouble. In essence, I will not ever hide my queer self again.

We may have lost this battle but we are obviously winning the war. Everyday more people come out of the closet. Younger people are open to their friends and family. Families are becoming more accepting as they break free from the oppressive hold that the church has had on them for years. They are seeing past the hypocrisy. The religious zealots know that this tide can't be stopped so things like this amendment are their last gasps. Desperate to stomp us out they will do quite the opposite.

We are loved and we must never give up.


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