What was the question?
I braved the weather and skipped the first part of the Packers-Eagles game to watch Julaine Appling of the Family Research Institute of Wisconsin and Mike Tate, the campaign director for Fair Wisconsin, debate the proposed amendment to ban gay marriage in Wisconsin. (See the sacrifices I make for my readers?)
Well, Appling debated the amendment. Mike Tate threw anything and everything he could get his hands on while never addressing the central issue of the night, if the amendment is not passed will judges be able to impose gay marriage? Tate was helped along by the moderators, Wayne Youngquist (who should have stayed retired) and Chuck Quirmbach from Wisconsin Public Radio, both of whom tried to make the proposed amendment look like some fiendish plot to subvert democracy. Tate was more than happy to play along.
Appling was asked about her organization’s ties to outside organizations, and even their finances, all the while Tate chirped happily along about “dirty money.”
When not answering the questions, Tate stuck to a theme of imputing all sorts of horrid motives to the backers of the amendment claiming the amendment’s passage would allow all sorts of lawsuits that would have the power to destroy the ability of two people to enter into any sort of contract.
Appling held her own and stayed on message, focusing on what happened in Massachusetts, including the recent decision that allowed a Rhode Island same-sex couple to marry in Massachusetts despite a law prohibiting marriages that would not be allowed in the couple’s home state. In Rhode Island the law requires marriage to be between a “bride” and a “groom”. (In Wisconsin, the law is “husband” and “wife”.)
I doubt anyone in the crowd was swayed. The crowd consisted mostly of media, interested parties and students. I’d say there was roughly 75 people in attendance who sat quietly throughout the debate.
Missing from tonight’s audience were any members of the legislature or any candidate for public office with one exception. Steve Schmuki, the Democrat running for state assembly, was there, no doubt taking notes and picking up a few votes.
The amendment’s legislative supporters were nowhere to be found. Oh well, no guts, no glory.