A House Divided
State Representative Steve Freese was one of the sponsors of the civil unions and marriage ban. Over the last two years, I traveled to his office twice, and met with him in his district to urge him to drop his support of the ban. Frankly, I found him callous and uncaring about his gay and lesbian constituents.
By chance, I’ve had occasion to meet and talk with his wife several times during this same period. I always found her delightful and personable.
This week, Dawn Freese wrote a letter to the Platteville Exponent explaining why she thinks her husband is wrong:
“Many important points have been argued in print lately about the Gay Marriage Amendment. However, I am frustrated with the fact that perhaps the most important issue involved has not been given any ink. Therefore, in spite of the fact that my own husband co-sponsored the proposed amendment, I would like to voice the main reason why I intend to vote no on Nov. 7.
The proposed amendment to Wisconsin’s constitution would limit the civil rights of a specific group of citizens. Think about this one hard, folks. This is no small thing. If you think it is, consult the Federalist Papers and the history of constitutional amendments. The U.S. Constitution, which our state constitutions are supposed to uphold and be modeled after, was intended to be amended rarely and prudently.
Amendments weren’t made to satisfy specific political agendas, but to protect our citizens’ rights and the integrity of the Constitution. The first 10 amendments, The Bill of Rights, expanded basic civil rights to all citizens. History proves the reverence Americans have held for our government’s framework and the civil rights it guarantees. When our founders first framed the Constitution, the only citizens who were allowed to vote were propertied white men. Since that time, Americans have amended the document to give non-property owners, black Americans, women and American Indians the right to vote. As our nation has grown, the Constitution has grown to reflect our expanding notion of civil liberty.
In sharp contrast to that tradition, some are proposing to amend our state’s constitution to limit the civil rights of a specific group that they deem to be not worthy. This fact should be alarming to all who love freedom.
I am alarmed enough to speak out and vote no.”