Sunday, March 14, 2004

The Worst Impulses
Something fairly rare happened up here in Wisconsin this past week. Our state Senate passed an amendment to the state Constitution that would ban same-sex marriage and make civil unions and domestic partnerships illegal. That's not the rare part--Wisconsin Republicans have been making bad decisions as easily as most people make lunch for as long as I've been back in the state. What's rare is that while some members of the Republican majority spun the usual Bible-based morally nonsensical justifications for enshrining bigotry in our constitution, some others were unusually honest, perhaps without intending to be. As the Capital Times wrote yesterday, "It was clear during the debate in the Senate that several of the legislators who backed the amendment understood they were engaging in unseemly behavior. [Italics mine.] They tried to say they were simply handing the gay marriage issue over to the citizens of the state, who must approve any amendment to the constitution at the polls." The latter is an admirable red-white-and-blue sentiment, were it not an excuse to avoid having to take a stand against something the senators know in their hearts is wrong. As the Capital Times goes on to note, these legislators are little better than the supporters of segregation in the South, who claimed no personal animus towards blacks, but claimed they had to follow the will of the people.

The fight for same-sex marriage just might be what Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition says it is--like the American Revolution all over again. It's certainly an opportunity to break the back of fear-mongering, religious bigots--to shake the object of their irrational hate and fear in their faces and say, "Know what? We don't give a damn what you're afraid of--you're just going to have to get used to this because it's the right thing to do. And if your god or your moral code tells you otherwise, then he and it are both wrong." And it's a chance to say to the political cowards of the Republican Party, whose primary calling, in Wisconsin at least, seems to be whoring for wingnuts, that if they were as moral as they make themselves out to be, they'd cover themselves in sackcloth and ashes in repentance for the evil results of their selfish pandering to the worst impulses in the human character.

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