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10/18/2010

Trust ÷ as far as we can throw them = 'pro-family' marriage warriors

by Jeremy Hooper

We've of course noted the glaring hypocrisy pertaining to the way social conservatives use domestic partnerships and/or civil unions at their convenience, acting as if they support such recognition when it serves their needs (i.e. during anti-marriage equality ballot initiative campaigns) but then coming out against these very same arrangements when there's no political Julaine-Applinginterest to do otherwise (i.e. the rest of the calendar year). And in a recent column for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, writer Lisa Dziadulewicz made note of the same situational reality, this time as it pertains to Wisconsin's head "pro-family" voice Julaine Appling:

Four years ago, one of the hottest issues in Wisconsin was the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and civil unions. While opponents worried that such a measure would hurt any efforts to grant gay and lesbian couples a minimal amount of legal protections through other means, such as domestic partnerships, supporters pooh-poohed these naysayers.

"If the state Legislature wants to take up adoption or inheritance rights, it can do that," said Julaine Appling, head of one of the primary organizations supporting the amendment, Wisconsin Family Action. "Nothing in the (amendment) prohibits that." Ban supporters avowed they were only trying to "protect marriage" and "protect the family," not penalize same-sex couples.

Flash forward to 2010. The governor and the Legislature, taking Appling at her word, passed legislation last year providing for a domestic partnership registry in Wisconsin. This measure gave same-sex couples a mere 43 of the over 200 rights given to married couples, primarily in the area of inheritance rights, hospital visits and medical leaves of absence.

Appling then countered this measure with an action whose breathtaking hypocrisy was only exceeded by its predictability: She became a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the state to overturn this legislation. And when the Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to hear the case last year, WFA returned in August with yet another lawsuit to block the registry.

KEEP READING: There's no threat to marriage [Journal Sentinel]

Dziadulewicz is absolutely right: Stuff like this is even more predictable than it is phony. As a generalized movement, the anti-equality team has one determined goal: To make the world as heterosexist as possible. The ultimate treasure trove would be a world where only heterosexuals marry before having their requisite 2.5 kids, and where variance from this supposed norm ranges from Presbyterian-Catholic (at most). But even they know that this is not a real world possibility, so the organized players read the tea leaves of the particular moment in whatever geography they happen to be contending in, then shape their talking points around whatever is instantly achievable.

If our opposition does one thing well, it's that they never make their perceived perfect the enemy of their determined good: Instead, they position full equality for LGBT people as the enemy of their team's hearts and minds, then gladly adapt a "good enough" public strategy to cover the harsh realities underlying their pushes while they strategize ways to reach the hetero-topia that they truly crave. We might respect the politicking, if not for the punishment that this lack of principle lays on our lives and loves.

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