J.B. and J.A. – on the wrong side of history, morality and politics

Look east…west…central…into the business world…into religion…into entertainment …or most importantly into our own hearts, to realize how wrong J.B. and J.A. are when it comes to condemning the loving relationships of same sex couples.  These relationships, whether under the limited benefits implied by the legalization of domestic partnerships or with the full societal acceptance of civil marriage, should be celebrated and endorsed rather than condemned and hated.    

The two J’s are on the wrong side of history, morality, yes, and even politics when it comes to their recent actions to attack these benefits.   J.B. Van Hollen is failing to uphold the law, costing the state big bucks with his refusal to represent the state in a lawsuit against domestic partnership benefits.  Julaine Appling is caught in her own religious closet and hypocrisy after failing to back her own statements (Daily Cardinal 12/13/05) when she said “Contrary to the message being given by opponents of the amendment, the second phrase does not ‘ban civil unions.”

Are these the actions of two people with integrity or those struggling with their own demons or seeking to champion their own political ambitions?  Even worse, could they be emblematic of bigotry, akin to that faced by others like women, racial minorities and others in their quest for civil liberties? 

Let’s review where the country is at in giving civil marriage and partnership rights to gay and lesbian couples.  

Looking east we have the battles being fought in Maine, a state where the elected legislature passed and the Governor signed a gay marriage bill, a bill put on hold leaving many gay and lesbian couples steps away from the full rights of civil marriage.  That bill is now going through a right wing-led, Catholic and Mormon Church-funded public referendum that will be held in about a month.   We have Massachusetts, NH, VT and CT all offering civil marriage rights for gays and lesbians.  

Looking central, we have Iowa, a state where the Supreme Court on April 3, 2009 upheld Gay Marriage under the state’s constitution.  We recently saw the National Organization for Marriage-funded Republican candidate Stephen Burgmeier lose his election to Democratic candidate Curt Hanson for the 90th District House seat. NOM spent $86,060 to lose this election and was rightfully slapped down.  Meanwhile the Des Moines Register is reporting that “92% say that gay marriage has brought no real change to their lives.”  Are you surprised? What change would be expected other than happier and more productive people.

Looking west, we have the more enlightened State of Washington, where the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Boeing, Nike, Microsoft, RealNetworks and other major employers all endorse the approval of Resolution 71, a public referendum supporting the domestic partnership rights that were granted to gay and lesbian residents by the duly elected state legislature.  According to Pam’s House Blend these companies said the law does not “sanction or encourage same-sex marriage … but recognizes that, regardless of their sexual orientation, people may enter into partnerships and create family units that deserve respect and equal treatment.”  This mainstream support is one that individuals, the courts, religions and businesses in our great state of Wisconsin would do well to follow.  How about showing some leadership on this issue, WMC? 

Looking into religion, we have the support of a wide range of religions for gay civil liberties up to and including marriage, including from the Unitarian Church, parts of the Lutheran Church and from the Episcopalian Church.  Even the Values Voter summit sponsored by the Family Research Council, home of the backward-looking religious dogma that Julaine embraces, recently voted opposition to gay marriage as a distant third on their list of most important issues according to Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com.  Here’s what he said “Abortion ranked first among issues of concern to straw-poll voters getting 41 percent of the vote, with protection of religious liberty second with 18 percent.  Opposition to same-sex marriage was third at 7 percent.”  

Looking here at home, we have a state that once was in the lead of recognizing and respecting people’s innate differences starting with the successful political partnership of former GOP Governor Lee Dreyfus and 7 term Gay Representative David Clarenbach who were able to work successfully together to create the United States’ first gay and lesbian protections in 1981. We have the state that elected the first openly gay or lesbian Federal Representative with the election of Tammy Baldwin and a state that has elected openly gay State Representatives in Mark Pocan and Senators in Tim Carpenter.  If anything, we should be on the lead on this issue or at a minimum offering full domestic partnership benefits, not the limited array of benefits being attacked by J.B. and J.A.

Looking nationally, we have increasing acceptance of gays and lesbians in all walks of life and their relationships by a wide range of generations of enlightened Americans.  Among the successful openly gay and lesbian leaders are the following:

Politicians: our own Tammy Baldwin; powerful, crusty and humorous Barney Frank and millionaire Jared Polis (2nd Congressional District, CO).

Retailers: the very successful Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams co-founders of successful furniture company Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams; Urban Outfitters/Anthropologie CEO Glen Senk and his life partner Antique’s buyer Keith Johnson (see Fortune) or how about Replacements, Ltd, the very successful china, silver and giftware retailer founded by Bob Page in 1981.

Entertainment: impresarios like the charming and successful Ellen DeGeneres; Andy Cohen of Bravo TV; stylemaker Timothy Gunn and even George Takei of Star Trek fame, soon to appear on the Wedding game. 

Newscasters: openly lesbian Rachel Maddow (MSNBC) and Jane Velez-Mitchell (Headline News); and the list goes on and on.  

What do all of these successful people have in common? 

They were allowed to live their lives in public as the people they really are, with the beliefs they have, with the human partner of either gender that they love and with the resulting creativity, productivity and happiness that this engenders.  

How can Julaine and J.B. argue against accepting others and promoting a value that they believe in – marriage and love?  Is it not in the best interest of society to have healthy, functioning homes rather than the furtive, self-hating behavior of a Larry Craig or Tom Foley?  How about the children of those partners with children or those wanting children – is it not better to have the state helping them make the best lives for these children rather than putting societal and economic impediments in their way? 

Julaine, J.B. and their ilk; would have us go backwards in time and shut the door on the creativity, energy, new products, new businesses, new jobs and other positive results that today’s and tomorrow’s gay and lesbian citizens are creating and will create; in the sole effort of molding Wisconsin into their narrow, parochial views or in furthering their political careers.  While J.B. may see this as protecting his position as Attorney General and as a platform for a future political career in a right wing dominated GOP, he is wrong on both points because the general public’s attitude and beliefs have shifted far beyond his position.

I ask you to look into your hearts… to look into your souls… and to look into the eyes of your gay and lesbian neighbors and support their quest for equality.


Related Articles

26 thoughts on “J.B. and J.A. – on the wrong side of history, morality and politics

    1. Thanks for commenting. However it would be nice if you articulated the reason(s) for your support of their position. If it is simply the blind faith of your religion then I ask you to go beyond that dogma and really spend time thinking about what is the basis of that belief. If it is political, then I’d argue you’re on the wrong side of history. If it is some other reason, it is impossible to refute it without knowing why.

  1. I don’t know what you want to debate with me. I was responding to your last sentence. I feel gay and lesbian people deserve the same rights as everyone else and I support them 100 percent. I believe people are born gay or lesbian and there should not be any shame involved…and they should not be discriminated against in any way, shape, or form.

    BTW…I am not religious and as I have said before on this blog I tend to be anti-religion. I do try to be respectful towards others who are religious although I will admit even that is getting increasingly more difficult for me as I age and have no patience for religious hypocrites.

    1. Anon, I think the “they” you referenced was just a little ambiguous. I assumed the “they” you were referring to were gays and lesbians, but it could be inferred you were voicing your support for folks like Van Hollen and Appling.

  2. Anon, if you are so anti-religion please stop using phrases like “God no!” I would find this usage offensive by anyone, but especially by someone who claims to be so anti-religion using it in any context.

      1. Anon, I’m sure you thought you were being funny, but I find your use of language highly offensive. Please have a sense of respect and decorum for others in this public forum. Just because those words hold little meaning to you, doesn’t mean that others, including myself, place a high value and deep respect for that name. We can have a spirited debate and disagree in these comments without resorting to cheap tactics like name calling and offensive language. Thank you.

        1. Forgotmyscreenname…I’ll take your concerns into consideration but just to play it safe it might be better for you to just skip reading my comments if you find them so offensive. Oh…and BTW…I did notice you used “God” in a comment recently but I suppose it’s okay for you because you are a christian and/or religious (hypocrite).

          1. I believe I used “God” in the context of “God forbid” when speaking of another terrorist attack. I’m not against using the words, but I do find it offensive when used in a derogatory way. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that you would use those words as a profanity or epithet, since you did say you are anti-religion. But I guess I found it interesting to point out, like when an atheist exclaims “Oh my God!”

            Since you do not know me, I am wondering how you can call me a hypocrite? You know I often hear that word thrown around too. It seems anyone who holds a high standard is labeled that for not living up to that standard. As if it would be better to have no standards at all, for at least then the behavior must be okay because the person had no standard to begin with. We are all human and all fall short, I’m not sure that makes everyone a hypocite.

            I’m not sure what I said to warrant that label by you. Do you believe that I pretend to have certain beliefs or principles that I do not actually possess? Or do you just believe that everyone who is a “Christian and/or religious” is somehow a hypocrite?

            1. Forgotmyscreenname…religions and religious people do not own God or Jesus Christ…so please keep your nose where it belongs. Again…skip my comments if you find them offensive because I won’t be adjusting the way I communicate.

              1. I see since you could not defend your use of name-calling (couldn’t explain why I am a hypocrite), you just moved on to just telling me to get lost. Which is fine by me. But I have just as much right to comment as you do, and you can choose to skip them if you wish too.

                I never claimed to “own God,” whatever you mean by that. Of course I do not own God — He owns me!

                Have a good day!

                1. Forgotmyscreenname…I already explained why I thought you were a hypocrite. You can’t tell someone to not use a word and then go and use it yourself…without looking like a hypocrite. The only thing is maybe I shouldn’t have called you a religious hypocrite because I really don’t know if you are religious…although you gave me the impression you were in an earlier comment.

                  The reason why I said religions and religious people do not own God is because you made it clear you don’t believe I should use the word “God” in my comments because I am anti-religion…and I think I have every right to use the word “God” even though I am anti-religion.

                  I don’t want you to be offended anymore which is why I suggested to you that you skip my comments…which is a far cry from telling you to get lost. You most definitely have as much right to comment as I do…and I never said you didn’t. This is Zach’s blog and I wouldn’t dream of telling his readers they don’t have a right to comment on his blog. However…I do think you are wrong when you try to dictate to me or anyone else on here what words we can or cannot use based on your religious beliefs.

                  1. I guess I didn’t understand your explanation the first time and clearly you did not understand mine. My complaint was not that you had no right to use the word “God” at all because you are anti-religion, it was how you used it. I would have been a hypocrite for using it in the same way you did, but not for simply typing it.

                    You used it as the equivalent of a swear word (which those other swear words I don’t believe would be tolerated on this board), and showed a lack of respect for people who give meaning to those words and hold certain beliefs. I wonder why it is no one ever throws around “Buddah” or “Allah” out of context when trying to stress a point, but I bet they would be beaten down pretty quick for lack of tolerance.

                    So it was just a curious observation I had. I probably wouldn’t have pointed it out if you hadn’t just stated earlier that you were anti-religion, for that’s what made it a more interesting observation. Even Christians slip up using it in that way and I’m not running around demanding perfection, but it stings a little more when it comes from someone who already has such disdain for my cherished beliefs.

                    I hope this clears up any confusion.

                    1. Forgotmyscreenname….I understood exactly what you were saying. What you don’t seem to understand is my “disdain” for religion has nothing to do with my using the word “God”…and certainly doesn’t mean my using the word “God” is equivalent to a swear word. My use of the word was completely in context.

                    2. Well see Anon, you *say* you understand, but then everything you say afterwards disproves that.

                      Using “God no” or “Jesus Christ…I ’ll use whatever” is NOT in context, unless of course your comments were addressed to God or Jesus Christ, which I do not think they were. You used them pajoratively. They would be pajoratives whether it was you or the pope.

                      This reply is to the comment below, which for some reason does not have a reply option, which is maybe a good thing because I give up explaining this to you.

  3. MadCityMan, I find it interesting you use the term “morality” in your headline. I thought progressive liberalism has been telling us for the last generation that we shouldn’t be taking into account your morality or my morality, but moral relativism. So maybe I will take a page out your playbook and say to you, please keep your morality to yourself.

    I also find it laughable who you list as leaders — a couple of talk show hosts, some guy on Bravo, a “stylemaker” (whatever that is), the guy from Star Trek, a corrupt politician, and our own Tammy Baldwin. Is this really what passes for leadership in this day and age?

    I do find your crazy posts entertaining, but at least Zach sometimes makes sense.

    1. Thanks for the compliment!

      Is your idea of a leader someone like Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, Glenn Beck, Michelle Bachman or Joe Wilson or do you respect someone who has built a firm like Page at Replacments or the Michell Gold guys?

      1. Neither actually. Most of the ones you mentioned are commentators and broadcasters. Those are not leaders. So I still find your list of leaders laughable, whether you decide they fit your idea of a conservative or liberal mode.

        While I do not know of the ones you mentioned, I surely do hold a level of respect for someone who has built a successful business. They need all the support they can get, especially when many on the left want to put more burdens on businesses or demonize those who are successful. Please consider the people you mentioned the next time you support tax increases or anti-business policies that make it that much harder to build a successful firm.

  4. I don’t see a problem with using the term “morality.” Its only when a person’s so-called “morality” is used as justification to harm people, does the term become outrageous and misused.

    1. So you are okay with morality as long as it is rendered meaningless. Because any moral position is usually by nature a difficult one and by taking a moral stand someone is sure to be offended or feel “harmed.”

      1. What I am saying is using “morality” as justification to do someone harm is an outrageous misuse of the term. So-called “morals” used to justify a ban on gay marriage are one example.

Comments are closed.