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Russ Feingold comes out for civil marriage equality

“The proposed ban on civil unions and marriage is a mean-spirited attempt to divide Wisconsin and I indicated that it should be defeated,” Feingold said. “It discriminates against thousands of people in our communities – our co-workers, our neighbors, our friends, and our family members. It would single out members of a particular group and forever deny them rights and protections granted to all other Wisconsin citizens. It would also outlaw civil unions and jeopardize many legal protections for all unmarried couples, whether of the same or the opposite sex. We shouldn’t enshrine this prejudice in our state’s Constitution.”
— Russ Feingold, on his web site, slapping down the bigots in his state

Big Kahuna Dem spine located — are you listening, jellyfish Dem leadership? Russ Feingold is not afraid of wrath of the fundies; he’s not bobbing and weaving in an attempt to avoid discussing civil equality. He was asked about his position on this while at a Kenosha County listening session over the weekend in in Paddock Lake, Wisconsin, and he declared his firm support.

“As I said at the Kenosha County listening session, gay and lesbian couples should be able to marry and have access to the same rights, privileges and benefits that straight couples currently enjoy,” Feingold added. “Denying people this basic American right is the kind of discrimination that has no place in our laws, especially in a progressive state like Wisconsin. The time has come to end this discrimination and the politics of divisiveness that has become part of this issue.”

Feingold noted that removing the prohibition against gay marriage would not impose any obligation on religious groups. He indicated that no religious faith should ever be forced to conduct or recognize any marriage, but that civil laws on marriage should reflect the principle of equal rights under the law.

Feingold’s forceful stance was hailed by National Stonewall Democrats.

“Senator Feingold understands that religious institutions should have the freedom to marry adherents according to their interpretation of their faith, and not the dictates of politicians. American families will be strengthened by tasking couples with the legal responsibilities that come through civil marriage,” said Jo Wyrick, NSD interim executive director. “Americans are quickly moving towards full support for marriage equality, and we are seeing a new generation of Democrats emerge whose leadership will help turn that support into law.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding