Letter: State Lags Nation in Protecting Gay Rights
Post-Crescent, July 12, 2003
Box 59, Appleton, WI 54912
On June 26, in a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court of
the United States struck down sodomy laws across the country as
unconstitutional invasions of privacy.
The sweeping decision serves as a huge victory by
recognizing that states can no longer brand gay people criminals or
“deviants” under the guise of “morality.”
The court proclaimed that “a law branding one class of
persons as criminal solely based on the state’s moral disapproval of that
class ... runs contrary to the values of the Constitution and the Equal
Protection Clause”—a historic civil rights ruling that will pave the road
to greater freedom and fairness for gay and lesbian Americans.
While this is an amazing victory, we still have work to
In 1982, Wisconsin passed the first gay and lesbian civil
rights law in the nation, but since then, progress has been almost
nonexistent, to the point where we now lag behind many states in securing
equal rights for gay residents.
In recent years, bills consistently introduced to
establish a statewide domestic partnership program and to expand insurance to
domestic partners of state employees have languished, often without even a
hearing, despite the fact that a recent independent poll found 76 percent of
Wisconsinites support “equal treatment under the law” for gays and
Despite the public’s support, same-sex couples and
their families are denied access to hundreds of critical benefits granted to
married heterosexual couples under state law, including the ability to visit a
dying partner in the hospital and the right to adopt your partner’s child.
We cannot wait another 17 years for vindication. The time
has come to act, and realize equality for all in Wisconsin.
—Aaron Hulse, Menasha [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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