Same-sex marriage is increasingly a thing of the past in the politics of moderate states. As much as conservatives celebrated over the passage of Proposition 6 in California, a liberal state, the narrow margin of victory and the overwhelming opposition among young voters indicated that it was only a matter of time before gay marriage becomes a losing issue for the GOP.
Wisconsin, though not as liberal as California, is not a particularly religious state, and Republicans know that the social demogoguery that works in the Bible Belt is often counter-productive here. In fact, some Republican strategists have questioned the effectiveness of the 2006 marriage amendment. While the ban was approved relatively easily, it may have backfired on the GOP by driving socially conservative Democrats to the polls (many of whom wouldn't vote during a midterm election) who voted for the ban but also voted for Dems. I am not totally convinced that is a correct analysis, but its consideration in GOP circles reveals how dangerous the issue has become.
So it is interesting to see the development of this debate over hormone treatment and sex changes for Wisconsin prison inmates. Like gay marriage, it was prompted by a court decision, however, it's much more of a winning issue for Republicans. It combines the issues of sexuality, crime, judicial activism and government spending into one delicious controversy.
The state DOJ is appealing a federal judge's decision striking down a state ban on hormone therapy and sex change surgery for prison inmates.
The agency, led by GOP Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, filed a notice of appeal on Wednesday with the Eastern District of Wisconsin indicating the 7th Circuit Court appeal.
State lawmakers approved the ban in 2005 after a Wisconsin inmate who had been receiving hormones sued because the Department of Corrections wouldn't pay for sex-change surgery. A federal judge found the ban unconstitutional.
"Liberal activist judges want to make you pay for sex change operations for criminals. I am [insert candidate name], and I approve this message because you can count on me to protect your tax dollars from funding liberal extremist causes."
Tell me that won't work.