Candidates differ on same-sex marriage

Piecing together same-sex marriage in Wisconsin.

Tribune News Service Illustration

Piecing together the candidates’ views on same-sex marriage in Wisconsin.

Anna Richter, Staff Writer

My Dads were finally able to legally wed this year thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage. They already wore gold wedding bands and owned a house together in Madison. To family and friends, they were already married; they just didn’t have a piece of paper to prove it.

They have been waiting 11 years for the state to recognize their union. They wasted thousands of dollars in life insurance policies and other legal processes that did not allow them to be each other’s legal husband due to proper documentation. If something were to happen to one of them, the other would have to assume responsibility of the household payments. They couldn’t even see one another in the hospital if a tragedy were to occur. They just wanted to have the same rights as hetero-couples. Another gay couple was married the same day as them, and had been waiting for 33 years. Most straight marriages don’t last that long, statistically speaking.

I am so grateful to have grown up in an age, post-Civil Rights Movement, where men and women can fight back against injustice for the minority. The first time I heard that “Same Love” by Macklemore and Mary Lambert hit the number one most requested song on the radio, I cried.

I knew the freedom my fathers had been fighting for had finally become mainstream. It was only a matter of time before the LGBT community would be viewed as equals, and legalizing same sex marriage is just the beginning for them. We used to picket outside of churches with Tammy Baldwin, who is now in Congress. When I was a kid we would go to the pride picnic and all sorts of events and fundraisers for the “10 percent.” I am so proud of my Dads and am truly blessed to have been a part of the gay rights movement.

If conservatives like Scott Walker had had their way, my Dads would never have been allowed to marry. On Nov. 4, the state of Wisconsin will cast votes for Governor. and incumbent Republican Walker is running against Democrat Mary Burke.

Tensions are high as many protests have been held against the governor. There was even a failed recall election on June 5, 2012. The spark that started the fire against Walker, and other state governors, started over their “union-busting” budget-repair bills, in 2011. Teachers, nurses, firefighters and their families rallied against these radical new laws in our own state capitol, and many others across the nation.

However, Walker’s conservative view on same sex marriage will have little to do with this race. Wisconsin can be very liberal and progressive in places like Madison, but travel not too far into the smaller towns and cities in the state, and you will get a very different opinion about both of the parties. Wisconsin stood with Walker the day they elected him, and those same voters said no to gay marriage. However, the Supreme Courts’ recent ruling on gay marriage has lifted the ban, and within hours, gay and lesbian couples rushed to get married. As of Oct. 6, same sex marriage is legal in Wisconsin.

Mary Burke stands for equality, and for the people of Wisconsin- not against them. She supports every voter, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. She believes in creating jobs and standing up for the middle-class. For people like my recently wed Dads and myself, this is the kind of person we would like to see in charge.

If you feel similarly, make sure to vote this Nov. 4 and help push Wisconsin forward.