This is a post written by Patrick Waring with some adaptations made by blue cheddar.
Patrick also did an audio story for WORT 89.9 FM in Madison.
You can donate to WORT HERE.
While the rich white men that run our state government worked to make sure our children are just riddled with gonorrhea* by the time they get out of high school, three conservative towns in Wisconsin have quietly extended benefits to domestic partners of municipal employees: Manitowoc, Racine, and Appleton. This is a huge deal. The Racine School District is currently getting their ass sued because they forbade a lesbian middle school teacher from disclosing to her students that she was in fact a dirty sinful homosexual. Plus they apparently just were dicks to her. And then they denied the whole thing. Classy. Meanwhile, the Manitowoc Sherriff’s department told a gay high school student who was getting hella gay bashed and receiving death threats to suck it up and get over it. Because having someone threaten your life is totally equivalent to getting your parent’s house TP’d.**
There’s a schism developing in Wisconsin between the State government and local, grass roots activism. The gubernatorial recall is obviously exhibit A, but I think these super-honky towns getting with the damn times despite the fact that gay marriage is one of THE hot button topics for the GOP on the national level makes a compelling point as well.
And it’s not getting any coverage. Google “Manitowoc domestic partner”. There are only two hits related to this; the link above and this charming editorial from the same local paper. It manages to be scornful of gay relationships even while it’s in favor of domestic partnership benefits. From htrnews.com “A Gannett Company”:
“Gay unions are odious and distasteful to the majority of people in a relatively conservative city like Manitowoc. That mindset alone likely will serve to keep the number of same-sex unions among city workers at a low level, making the financial impact minimal.”
What’s going on the upper echelons of Wisconsin’s government is truly heinous. I’m not even using heinous in some sort of hipster-shit writing technique. I mean literally, 3rd edition Webster’s heinous. Trust me. I know. I interview Glenn Grothman on a regular basis.
Wisconsin is also full of amazing people who are fighting tooth and nail and they are fucking winning. It’s easy to focus on the negative. Lord knows I’ve done it as a journalist. You honestly can not make this shit up. But it would be nice to see some good press for a change when events are positive. Get this news out of the closet.
** “According to the teen, Chief William Riesterer put the threatening calls in the same category as toilet-papering a house. Riesterer yelled at him, called him a liar and told him the harassment is all normal high school stuff and that Udulutch needed to grow up and get over it.” – Valders gay teen claims death threats, taunting, htrnews.com
Louis Weisberg of the progressive gay-focused newspaper Wisconsin Gazette recently wrote about this development:
Manitowoc adopts domestic partnership benefits
Appleton Wonk has written about the ongoing saga over domestic benefits in Appleton 6 times. Here’s one piece:
Appleton City Workers to Receive Same-Sex Domestic Partner Benefits by Appleton Wonk, blue cheddar blog
The featured photo for this blog came from M.V.Jantzen and appears here under a Creative Commons license.