Thursday, December 08, 2005

Still Got Some Hating Left to Do
(Edited to add a couple of links at the bottom.)
It's a proud day for Wisconsin, yes it is. Our state senate has sent a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman and prohibiting civil unions to the even-more-wingnutty state assembly, where, barring a direct hit on the Capitol by a meteor, its passage is assured, thus putting it before the voters next November. Wisconsin law already defines marriage as being between a husband and wife, but the amendment was necessitated by an epidemic of people marrying farm animals and, in one case, a 1974 Dodge Dart. The vote for the amendment in the Senate was along party lines, with a couple of Democrats who had supported it finally switching over at the end--one of them after consultations with a priest. The bill doesn't ban domestic partnership arrangements--which can only be an oversight on the part of the sponsors, because it means certain homosexuals in Wisconsin will go un-fucked-with.

The Repugs pushing the amendment are saying the usual stuff about protecting Wisconsin values from activist judges and from legislatures in other states that lack sufficient virtue to know that same-sex marriage threatens the integrity of our precious bodily fluids. But I wonder: How many of them even know any gay people? And if they do, how they look those people in the eye?

Action Wisconsin has already geared up its No on the Amendment campaign, and they've hired a familiar face to run it--Mike Tate, who ran the Dean campaign in Wisconsin. And according to John Nichols of the Capital Times, the amendment's eventual passage is anything but certain.

Shoot 'Em if You Got 'Em: The amendment vote caps off another big week for wingnuttery in the Senate, which voted on Tuesday to approve the concealed carrying of firearms. The margin was 23-10, which is enough to override Governor Doyle's expected veto. This bill has percolated at the Capitol for a couple of years, and its main sponsor, Senator Dave Zien of Eau Claire, is a reliable source of wacky ideas. I'm not sure which one I like better: his insistence that the bill will allow people to "control their own destiny," or that he touted a provision in the bill that would make it illegal for intoxicated people to carry guns--as if your average barfly would actually take his gun back out to the truck after his third boilermaker to comply with that part of the law. The state's police chiefs are opposed to the bill--and when it was first proposed, something like 67 of the state's 72 sheriffs said they wouldn't process the paperwork in their counties if the bill became law. And who would know better about the worth of such a law--law officers, who know what conditions are like in their cities and counties everyday, or Repug legislators, who seem to know only what their prejudices tell them should be true?

A recurring theme on this blog has been how Wisconsin's vaunted progressive reputation has been at best, diminished, and at worst, destroyed, by bad Republican ideas. This is another version of the same song. In approving the marriage amendment and concealed-carry, Republican legislators are acting not on the wishes of their constituents, but on ideological ground no better than that on which stand equally destructive legislatures in places like Texas and Florida. Robert LaFollette--who was a Republican before he formed the Progressive Party--wouldn't recognize them, either as civic-minded leaders or as citizens of his beloved state.

PS: Our latest "talk amongst yourselves" has been pretty interesting. Take a look. Also, I've been blogging elsewhere today: on John Lennon's monument and Bill O'Reilly's cans of whoop-ass.

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