Equal Badger Rights

I left out a prediction from my recent 2014 preview column: like in other states, Wisconsin's state constitutional ban on gay marriage would be ruled federally unconstitutional by a judge. As it should. Had I included the prediction, I would have seemed all the more prescient: a lawsuit now exists to do just that.

The four couples involved in the ACLU's suit against Wisconsin argues that the 2006-passed ban violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection rights and due process provided by the 14th amendment, and they're also challenging a Wisconsin law that makes illegal the practice of a gay couple going to a another state to legally marry. Incredibly, Wisconsin could fine gay couple $10,000, or put them in prison for up to 9 months -- or both -- for going to another state to get hitched. I've previously joked that the conservative bent to Wisconsin goverment has essentially made us North Alabama, but what is this, the south in the 1920s?

Understand that one of our two U.S. Senators cannot legally marry -- nor can one of our eight U.S. Representatives -- because of this ban, should they ever choose to tie the knot. That is morally wrong, a moral wrong greater than any religious objections to gay marriage. Such objections have repidly declined in recent years, and the argument that "two-thirds of Wisconsinites voted to ban gay marriage a few years ago, so we shouldn't overturn the will of the vast majority" is willfully ignoring the real changes in opinion and polling.

Being LGBT should have nothing to do with which party you prefer. If you favor limited goverment, lower taxes, a strong national defense and a solid married family that raises children -- all traditional pillars of the Republican party -- and are also gay, that should not keep you from being part of the GOP. A person's sexual preference is who they are, not an ideological choice. With the Republicans likely to control Wisconsin government through the decade, I do not have confidence that they will put an amendment overturning our gay marriage ban on the ballot for voters to consider -- even though such an overturning would certainly pass. Perhaps the judicial route is the only short-term one to take to achieve equality, to let people marry whom they choose, to feel they are not being judged by something they cannot change.

Change is inevitable in Wisconsin. A judge will make it happen, and it will correct a wrong where our elected leaders choose to abstain.