Dear Tell All: All my friends are thrilled that New York just legalized same-sex marriage, but I find myself getting more and more depressed. That makes it six states that are moving forward with gay rights (including our surprisingly enlightened neighbor Iowa) while Wisconsin moves backwards. Voters here passed a ban on same-sex marriage, and now conservatives are even attacking the domestic partnership registry and its minimal protections for gay couples. Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen have signaled their contempt for gay people by refusing to defend the registry from lawsuits.
It just seems wrong that gays have rights in some states and not in others. And here I am stuck in one of the others.
Dear Tad: This isn't a moment to be resentful. It's a moment to celebrate - and after that moment passes, I will join you in feeling resentful that Wisconsin is falling behind the trends regarding gay rights.
On the other hand, a Dane County judge did just throw out a challenge to the domestic partner registry and rule the law constitutional. So at least we're not falling even farther behind.
Maybe the way to melt Republicans' hard hearts is to frame the gay marriage issue in terms they understand - that is, in terms of business. Gov. Walker is obsessed with creating jobs, so why don't we let him know how many more jobs will be created when gay folks start having their weddings here. And how many more businesses will feel comfortable relocating in Wisconsin in the absence of anti-gay bias.
If the state really is "open for business," as Walker says, it should be open to same-sex wedding planners.
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