My Final Thoughts

Now that Nov. 7 has passed, so too has Fair Wisconsin, at least as the official political campaign. This Wednesday is the last day of paid work for most of the Fair Wisconsin staff.

A couple of people will stay on until the end of the year to tie up loose ends and to work with our board of directors to figure out what’s next for, well… for all of you. All of us.

I’m sure somewhere in the plans will be a strategy to overturn the amendment. I’m hopeful that day won’t be too far away, but it will take some time. There are two ways to overturn an amendment—either through legal action or by going through the same process we just endured: passage through both houses of the legislature in two consecutive sessions, and then by a simple majority of the public. Either way, overturning it will be costly, emotional, and eventually, successful.

We’ll leave the blog up, but it’s likely this will be the last post. The Fair Wisconsin website will sit for a while before eventually going down.

While Fair Wisconsin’s mission was not to achieve equal rights for LGBT people, I know ultimately, that’s what many of you are working for. Obviously, we’re left with a big “to do” list. In addition to marriage equality, there is a lot to accomplish for the LGBT community— domestic partner health benefits, second-parent adoption, non-discrimination policies for all LGBT people, and even just general acceptance of LGBT people.

Most communities around the state have some sort of LGBT organization that provides support and a voice for LGBT people, whether it’s a local PFLAG chapter, a group like northeastern Wisconsin's Positive Voice, or an LGBT community center like those in Madison, La Crosse, Milwaukee, or the Chippewa Valley. The Action Wisconsin Education Fund’s website lists several other organizations both locally and nationally. I hope that you continue to work in your community, toward your vision of a fair Wisconsin.

I was as sad, angry, and hurt as all of you on Tuesday night. I still am. Probably part of me will always be. I feel betrayed by the people of my home state, and I feel personally attacked. But quite honestly (I’m not just saying this to try to make you feel better) I also feel hopeful.

The work we did leading up to the election started to reveal the lives of gay and lesbian families to Wisconsin. In telling our stories and in showing how the denial of marriage hurts our families, we nudged the conversation in the right direction.

The timing of this amendment is hugely unfortunate. But the silver lining is that in this election cycle we showed that using gay and lesbian families as political pawns doesn’t work. I think we’ll see an end to the introduction of these initiatives.

So what’s next for me? I’m not entirely certain. For now, I’m slowly remembering all of the things I used to enjoy… reading, working on my house, making art, playing with my dog, going out of town for the weekend, spending time with Megan. It feels good to have these things back. I will put together my portfolio, look for a graphic design job with DP benefits, replace a toilet, keep trying to start a family, get an estimate on a new roof, visit my parents and brothers in Green Bay for Thanksgiving.

And then, with the rest of you, I will continue to volunteer, talk with people, and help elect officials who have my best interest in mind. Working on this campaign has changed my life. It made me realize, in a very tangible way, the organization, the individuals, the hours, and the piles of energy it takes to effect change. There were thousands and thousands of you working with me the four days before the election. We didn’t win, but we were out in force, and that felt amazing, and that felt like a movement.

Especially in that final push, you were working for my future, and I was working for yours. Whatever happens next, I trust we’ll all work together just as hard and with just as much passion. And for that, I am exceptionally proud, optimistic, and above all, thankful.

A Fair Wisconsin Votes No
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