Press

Wisconsin same-sex marriage ban measure poised for November 2006 ballot

Date: 
March 01, 2006

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

"Barring same-sex couples in Wisconsin from creating legally stable, safe and protected relationships is bad — indeed, cruel — public policy. It compromises Wisconsin's historical and well-earned role as a leader in doing the right thing."
— Matt Foreman, executive director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

WASHINGTON, March 1—The Wisconsin Assembly voted 62 to 31 late yesterday to approve a proposed constitutional ban on marriage and any "substantially similar" legal status for same-sex couples. The proposed measure, which would ban not only marriage but also civil unions, will be on this year's November ballot in Wisconsin. While the Assembly vote was a discouraging development, the prospects for defeating this sweeping anti-fairness measure are promising under the leadership of the Fair Wisconsin Campaign.

"No one should underestimate the harm to same-sex couples and their children this proposal would impose on Wisconsin families. Barring same-sex couples in Wisconsin from creating legally stable, safe and protected relationships is bad — indeed, cruel — public policy. It compromises Wisconsin's historical and well-earned role as a leader in doing the right thing," said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

"Fortunately, the Fair Wisconsin campaign takes off with strength from a critical base of commitment, energy and work," added Foreman, referring to a 2-year-old coalition led by Action Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center and Milwaukee Center Advocates. Over the last two years, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has supported this work to identify thousands of voters and volunteers. These state and local organizations working for equality have trained hundreds of advocates; organized local committees that are operating in every part of the state; and secured the commitment of numerous state health, labor and legal organizations to work against the ban.

"For the past 600 days, Action Wisconsin and Center Advocates have been focused on educating tens of thousands of voters. As the official statewide campaign that launches today, Fair Wisconsin will build off that foundation and run a serious campaign to win in November," said Mike Tate, Fair Wisconsin's campaign manager.

"The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force stands with Fair Wisconsin in its commitment to defeat the proposed ban. To add to the support we've already given to the state, we will partner with Fair Wisconsin as we train over one hundred people in critical grassroots organizing skills through an April 7–9 Power Summit in Milwaukee," said Foreman.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.