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Wisconsin's nail-biter marriage amendment battle

Fair Wisconsin‘s effort to get voters turn away a marriage amendment at the polls this fall got a boost from seventeen members of the Wisconsin Bar Association.

The amendment would bar gays and lesbians from marrying as well as prevent adoption of civil unions. (365gay):

In an open letter the group said they were speaking as individual lawyers and not for the bar association, but their prominence in the state adds to a growing list of Wisconsin notables voicing their concerns over the measure.

In the letter they site three key concerns: the purpose of the state constitution, existing law limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples, and the adverse consequences passage of the proposal would have on the children of same-sex couples.

“Our founding fathers drafted our Constitution to embrace rights and freedoms which were to stand firm through all time and through all political changes. Wisconsin’s Constitution, like the United States Constitution, is a document which grants rights to citizens. It is not, has not been, and should not be used as a political means to restrict the rights of any citizens,” the lawyers said.

“The proposed constitutional amendment could harm the health and welfare of Wisconsin children and families. For example, it could preclude children from obtaining health care benefits or preclude parents from making emergency health care decisions for their children. Similar bans in other states also have been used to deny legal protections to battered women who live with, but are not married to, their abusers,” The letter says.

The vote is going to be close. An August poll by WISC-TV of Madison and conducted by Research 2000 found that 48% percent of likely Wisconsin voters favor a state constitutional amendment, with 40% opposed (12 percent were not sure).

The fundies are equally up for the battle, using the same old saw, homo-straw-man scare tactics. Anti-gay videos are being sent to churches to stir up sheeple support.

Traditional marriage must be legally defended for the sake of children, the executive director of the Family Research Institute of Wisconsin told a local group at a forum Wednesday night.

“Children need moms and dads,” Julaine Appling said at the informational forum at First Evangelical Free Church. “When we purposely create motherless or fatherless homes, we’re saying children don’t matter.”

…Appling also said a failed amendment would lead not just to same-sex marriage, but legalized polygamy and group-marriage. “Right behind (the homosexuals) are standing the polygamists,” she said. Federal law prohibits polygamy.

Among the reasons she listed was “Why Marriage Matters,” a book listing 26 problems children of unmarried couples face in life. The book cites research in the social sciences and says children fare worse in school, are more prone to delinquent behavior and more likely to be in failed marriages.

That last paragraph actually makes the case for civil equality — if gays can marry, then that adds stability to a child’s life, using her argument. I’m assuming her ultimate goal is to prevent homos from having children.

* Will Wisconsin defeat a marriage amendment?
* Reading between the lines of upcoming state marriage amendments

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding